So, so close. Andrew Lawn reviews a display to be proud of in North London, which ultimately yielded little apart from the inevitable positives many will draw.
Random star performer
This really could be one of any number. Again. From back to front this was a performance brimming with heart and a desire not to get beat, the likes of which us fans crave. Gunn was solid, Pinto tireless, Klose dominant, Husband sensible, Vrancic tidy, Reed composed, Trybull Trybull, Murphy willing and Oliveira mobile. However the name missing from that list is my star, Christoph Zimmermann. The guy is blossoming into an absolute collosous. Dominant in the air, patient in the tackle and never knowing when he was beaten, in Christoph we have unearthed a potential back line stalwart for many years to come.
Moment of the match
Murphy‘s, very well taken, goal was very well taken and greeted with a celebration to match, but for me the moment was one which encapsulated the praise above for Zimmermann. A clipped ball forward was aimed at the head of seasoned Premier League striker Olivier Giroud. No respecter of names, CZ launched himself up and over Giroud’s attempted shield, nodding the ball to Reed, who momentarily miscontrolled. That loose touch allowed Wilshere (I believe) to nip in and slot a through ball into Giroud, who found himself behind the now wrong-footed Zimmermann. Sensing his chance, Giroud made a beeline for the City goal, but with his eyes beginning to widen, CZ thundered up behind him, stretching a Go-Go Gadget leg out to sweep the ball off the strikers toes. 2 balls he had no right to win, both won.
Farke has often said he likes “do or die” games and was determined to go as far as possible in the cup, which was translated into a passionate touchline presence here. Prowling his technical area, Farke willed every ounce of energy out of his players here and constantly (with good reason it must be said) badgered the 4th Official for explanations of some mysteriously inconsistent decisions. The big ones (Eleny’s yellow and the pen) you could make a case either way for, but more infuritating was the marked difference in what it took for a FK to go for us, compared to against us. Want a free-kick to go for you Arsenal? All you need do is ask it seems.
Biggest positive to take
This was another committed and solid performance, which deserved more than it ultimately got. Furthermore, it may seem small comfort now, but in 2 hours of football against one of the countries top attacking sides, we didn’t concede (or look like conceding) from open play.
The flip side of that coin, is of course that we conceded twice from set plays, which was uncharacteristicly sloppy compared to the rest of the performance. Areas of improvement remain.
Often when thousands go away from home, the atmosphere can be counter-intuitively flat as those who sing are spread out too thin among the throngs. That was not the case here, as the entire lower-tier joined in from the off. The “Super Tommy Trybull” song has caught on immediately and has all the makings of a classic, matching Farkelife and some stirring On The Ball City’s. However, we need to replace “Maddison, Maddison...” with the “Just a handful of Germans helped James Maddison beat Town” to the tune of Mary Poppins, forthwith.
Not quite 6 away wins in a row, but a defeat that left you proud to be a yellow. A mere 48 hours after an emotional and energy sapping derby triumph, City ran their legs to stumps over another 2 hours here. Farke’s challenge now is to freshen some tired stumps ready for the arrival of an in-form Derby and table topping Wolves in the next week. 4 points from those 2 and we are well on our way. Onwards.
Two things; first, did you know we have a new podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. Di Cunningham from Proud Canaries joined us for the second episode, which is available now.
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