The one good thing that can come from a late kick off is the fact that you can see what your rivals had done earlier in the day. City went into the game with the knowledge that Spurs had lost in the lunchtime kick-off at Old Trafford and that, while three points would have been brilliant for moral, a draw would not be a bad result either.
A point at Arsenal is never a bad thing for City. Considering we have lost there ten times in twelve Premier League visits, a draw is a fairly decent result, even if the performance wasn’t brilliant.
With the memories of last September’s unsavoury events resurfacing, a visit to a hostile Emirates was always going to be tough and Roberto Mancini went there to play it safe and it worked. Often when City visit places to play it safe, they are caught out and end up losing what could have been a vital point, but not this time.
Playing three defensive midfielders, Mancini’s side stifled every Arsenal attack on the City goal and even when they did manage to break through, they were stopped by Shay Given, who dislocated his shoulder in stopping Abou Diaby from breaking the deadlock.
Carlos Tevez played the lone striker role with another former Gunner, Emmanuel Adebayor, on the bench as another part of Mancini’s safety plan. The home supporters must have been disappointed to see Adebayor on the bench, denying them the opportunity to subject him to further abuse. They got their chance seven minutes into the second half and for a while after his introduction, the blues looked likely to break the deadlock.
But although City had a penalty appeal turned down for handball against Sol Campbell, the blues couldn’t find a way through to get their first league win at Arsenal since 1975.
But the main thing is that the blues avoided defeat, bettering Spurs result which was the main objective of the day. It may not have been pretty or attractive, but we did the job that we went there to do.
Now we are just a point behind Spurs and just two points ahead of Villa, who seem to have come from nowhere and are suddenly in the reckoning again. And with Villa and Spurs next at Eastlands, City’s bid for a fourth place finish is clearly in their own hands.