Man City’s 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on Sunday ended their 12 match unbeaten run in the Premier League, and left the gap between themselves and Chelsea at five points.
Even with the trip to Stamford Bridge in their next Premier League clash, it will be very difficult for City to overturn this deficit on an extremely efficient Chelsea side. The defeat highlighted several areas of weaknesses for Man City that have been overshadowed in recent weeks due to winning performances. They might have missed Yaya Toure who is on African Nations duty, but with the strength in depth a squad of Man City posses, they still should have enough to cover this loss.
But instead Fernando and Fernandinho took up roles in the centre of the pitch, both in a holding role. When Yaya Toure plays, having one of these Brazilians in the holding role compliments the Ivorian, who likes to get forward. But roblems occur when the two play together. As well as sounding similar, they both play in more or less the same role with little instincts to get forward and create chances. It was evident on Sunday where Man City might have had a lot of the ball, but lacked that killer and creative instinct especially in the middle of the park.
City would have been better off playing Frank Lampard instead of Fernando because, despite being 36, he still has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League. And it wasn’t for the first time this season that Fernando has been poor. Since signing from Porto in the summer, Fernando has hardly set the league on fire, struggling for consistency. That was obvious in the match on Sunday, as he really failed to have a positive impact on the game and was all too casual in helping out with defending and looking to play balls forward. This is an area City have to improve in Toure’s absence as they can’t afford any more slip ups as the defeat to Arsenal.
Samir Nasri has been injured for a significant part of this season and will miss at least the next month. This has meant that Spaniard Jesus Navas has been playing a lot more than expected. Whilst Navas looks good on the ball, his final delivery, especially on Sunday, has been extremely poor. Statistics show that he had 18 failed crosses and was unsuccessful in taking on the Arsenal defence. This is a big problem that was evident in Man City’s game despite having 65% possession, their final ball and end product was missing massively. This can be rectified in upcoming weeks by having David Silva revert back out wide, with James Milner on the other flank, who is guaranteed to put in a shift for the side.
As far as the defence goes, Vincent Kompany wasn’t at his best after coming back from injury but he will get better the more he plays. His partner Martin Demichelis however, fell short in the big match once again. He has been much improved from the first half of last season but still has areas of obvious weaknesses.
He gave the ball away too often, which almost proved costly and will be punished more often than not. Demichelis had a tough time containing the Arsenal front men and has often been found out against the bigger teams this season. He might have looked comfortable against the lesser sides in this league but with the sort of run Man City have in the next month; failure to address this problem could prove to be disastrous.