SANCHEZ HANDS THREE POINTS TO GUNNERS
A controversial game at the Emirates ended two nil to Arsenal, as the game hinged on two handball incidents. More of that later.
City put out an adventurous side,with Niasse flanked by Grosicki and Markovic and they came at Arsenal from the start. The first half was played at a furious pace, with play moving from end to end. Grosicki set the tone with a direct run in the first minute, and Markovic followed suit, attacking with purpose. In the thirteenth minute a Niasse header had Cech at full stretch, play moved swiftly to the other end, as Bellerin hit the side netting, and Sanchez missed a sitter from 10 yards. Play continued end to end, with Cech the busier keeper. Then came the controversy. A melee in the six yard box saw Sanchez clearly put the ball in the net with his hand. All the City defence appealed, but after consultation with the third official, somehow the goal stood. An outrageous stroke of misfortune which the Tigers did not deserve. City’s heads did not go down and they continued to be positive right to the half time whistle.
In the second half, the Tigers continued to press,a great shot by Niasse being tipped over by Cech in the fiftieth minute. A great run by Markovic had the Arsenal defence back pedalling, but nothing came of it. On sixty four minutes it was good to see the return of Elmohamady, who was threatening on the right. A wild shot by N’Diaye on sixty five minutes and a Maguire header just wide showed City really going for it, but they could not get that elusive goal. In the seventy fifth minute, Sanchez was booked for an outrageous dive, and we were also treated to the sight of Theo Walcott attempting to intimidate Harry Maguire. It didn’t work, and Walcott was soon withdrawn. Two more headers from the excellent Niasse as well as the wasteful Diomande, and that was it. Or so we thought. In added time a rush of blood by Jakupovic left City’s defence in tatters and the ball was fired at Sam Clucas’ arm. Penalty. Red card. The penalty was dispatched by Sanchez and that was that.
Two handballs. Both went Arsenal’s way. Draw your own conclusions.
This was a bright, confident performance by the Tigers, which merited a draw, but the officials put paid to that. Has the time come for Technology to come to football’s aid? Is it time for football to follow rugby, cricket and tennis and allow illegal goals to be wiped out? Discuss.
Well played, City. Unlucky. Now a two week break before the crucial Burnley game. Be sure to watch the half time entertainment, as this walking footballer and his Senior Tigers colleagues show you all how to play the game. Slowly.
By David Osgerby