Arsenal out but buoyedy Trossard Martinelli and tighduel wit

เวลาปล่อย:2023-01-29 คลิก:

It has been a long time sinceArsenalexperienced this feeling 145 days, to be precise, if we are talking about losing on the road to another English team and they probably know what comes next.

Does this count as a psychological blow? How much will it impact the title race? Should Arsenal just accept thatManchester Cityare brilliant and relentless and, frankly, a little bit terrifying and that, sooner or later, Pep Guardiolas team of serial champions and A-listers will climb back to their rightful place at the top of thePremier League?

OK, that last one might have been given a little bit of top-spin. You get the idea, though. Arsenal were always likely to find this kind of narrative being spun if theirFA Cupfourth-round tie at the Etihad went in favour of the Premier League champions.

The reality for Arsenal, though, is that they should not be too hung up about what their 1-0 defeat means in the context of the title race. Too much can be read into one result. The last time anyone checked, Arsenal were still enjoying the view from the Premier Leagues summit.

Mikel Artetas team still had 50 points at the midway stage of their season. They still had the unmistakeable look of champions-in-waiting. There has been nothing this season to suggest they will lose their nerve on the back of a defeat in which there was hardly anything between the two teams.

If anything, Arteta might feel mildly encouraged once the disappointment starts to wear off and he reflects on the experimental man-marking tactics that stoppedKevin De Bruyneand Erling Haaland being as effective as usual.

Here, too, was the hard evidence to demonstrate whatAaron Ramsdalemeant when Arsenals goalkeeper one of the regulars who was left out of their starting XI was asked earlier in the week aboutLeandro Trossardthe 27million signing from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Trossard is coming in to take someones place, said Ramsdale. It might look like he is coming to be part of the squad. But deep down, like I was with (Bernd) Leno, he is coming to take one of the front three players places.

It was unusual to hear somebody in football speak so openly about dressing-room dynamics, but it made perfect sense. Trossard wants to make himself a fixture in the team, he intends to ease out one of his new team-mates in the process.Gabriel Martinelli, to give him his name.

The problem for Trossard is that Martinelli is having the best season of his career and, on Friday,agreed a new four-and-a-half-year contract at the club. Ramsdales verdict was that somebody might end up feeling put out One of those front three might go, Hang on a minute and that was probably true. But since when has that been a bad thing for a club with aspirations to win a league title?

The mind goes back toManchester Uniteds years of dominance and Sir Alex Ferguson signing another left-winger, Jesper Blomqvist, to challenge Ryan Giggs for his place. Some of the players started winding up Giggs, joking that it was the beginning of the end. Giggs took it in good humour. But there came a point when he turned to Gary Neville, looked him in the eye and said matter-of-factly, Hed better be good.

Trossard had better be good, too. And Martinelli had better be good. Better than good, in fact. Neither can falter as the left-sided attacker in a front three. Martinelli cannot allow any form of complacency to halt his upward trajectory. Trossard must know it might require a little patience.

He started this match in a hurry, though, andJohn Stonesin particular found him a difficult opponent before one chasefinished with theEnglandinternational going off with a damaged hamstring.

Stones, according to Guardiola, was not ready and it had been that way since the first whistle. Citys manager seemed irritated and dissatisfied with his player. When you are not ready, Guardiola explained, it can lead to injuries. A more sympathetic view was that Stones had been unnerved by Trossards desire to drift in from the wing and run at one of the more accomplished defenders in the league.

The Belgium forward was the most dangerous player on the pitch in the first half and nobody should be too surprised bearing in mind his performances forBrightonthis season, seven goals in 17 appearances, and the overwhelming feeling that he sees himself as a good fit at the highest level.

He was withdrawn shortly afterNathan Akehad scored the decisive goal and, with Arsenal chasing the game, Martinelli was bright and lively for the remainder of the match. Did the substitute have a point to prove? Maybe, to some degree. Yet the happy reality for Arsenal is that Martinelli has played with this incisiveness all season.

The Arsenal substitute, Martinelli, makes clear his frustration after seeing a late chance fly wide at Manchester City (Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

So, yes, Arsenal need not feel too bereft about their elimination from a competition they have won more times than any other club.

Arsene Wenger, alone, finished his managerial career in 2018 with more FA Cups than City have managed throughout their history. Wengers seven equalled the totals ofChelseaandLiverpoolat that stage. Arsenal have 14, two more than Manchester United and six higher than any of their other rivals. It is a phenomenal record.

But Arsenal have different priorities this season and this defeat will barely be a footnote to their season if it ends with red and white ribbons on the championship trophy.

Yes, it stings to lose against theteam they want tomeasure themselvesagainst. And, yes, it is a reminder of Citys staying power before the two sets of playersrenew acquaintances on February 15 and April 26 in the games that matter the most.

The bottom line, however, is that if Arteta was intent on causing City real psychological damage, he would have played his first-choice XI. Instead, he decided to make half a dozen changes and the league leaders still managed to hold their own against what was close to being a full-strength City.

The questions will come, regardless. There will always be scrutiny after such a defeat. But does it stack up? Guardiola, for the record, shook his head when he was asked whether it would make any difference to Citys chances of catching and overhauling Arsenal in the title race. I dont think so, he said.

(Top photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Get all-access to exclusive stories.

Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

Daniel Tayloris a senior writer for The Athletic and a four-time Football Journalist of the Year, as well as being named Sports Feature Writer of the Year in 2022. He was previously the chief football writer for The Guardian and The Observer and spent nearly 20 years working for the two titles. Daniel has written five books on the sport.Follow Daniel on Twitter@DTathletic

Copyright © 2002-2022 Thb999 All Rights Reserved