Manchester City pay the price for poor finishing, nightmarish defending vs. Arsenal

Almost befitting of April Fools' weekend, Manchester City and Arsenal both put in performances that summed up their seasons. The joke was on both teams; it was a defensive horror show at either end, but Pep Guardiola will feel more aggrieved at the draw -- having seen his players again squander chance after chance. It's a draw that does neither side any favours.


When City weren't being masters of their own downfall, they looked like they were able to take command of the match. For spells, especially in the first half, they were overrunning the Arsenal defence time after time and should have been out of sight before each of the Gunners' equalisers.


The defence remains a source of frustration for Guardiola, who watched a comedy show from Nicolas Otamendi and a nightmare from makeshift right-back Jesus Navas. City's tactic has been to attempt to outscore their opponents for a while because of their defensive issues, but once more chances went begging -- as Kevin De Bruyne twice hit the post, David Silva and Fernandinho drew good saves from David Ospina, and Sergio Aguero missed two gilt-edged headers.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- If he had any left, Guardiola would be tearing his hair out after this showing. Everything he tried couldn't shore City up and get them to be more clinical at the other end.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Willy Caballero, 6 -- One dodgy moment aside, the goalkeeper looked assured in possession and there was little he could have done to stop Arsenal's two goals, as those in front of him left him horribly exposed.

DF John Stones, 7 -- Perhaps the only bright spark for City defensively, the England centre-back was like a magician trying to keep a number of plates spinning at once as he had to cover for nearly all of his colleagues on a regular basis.

DF Nicolas Otamendi, 5 -- From the sublime to the ridiculous, it's difficult to know what goes through his head sometimes. Some excellent tackles and headers were undermined by his decisions to go charging upfield in a desperate bid to win a ball he doesn't need to win or by that awful slice that almost allowed Arsenal a winner at the end.

DF Gael Clichy, 5 -- Clichy was lost at sea for long spells in the game. He was slow out and then weak to challenge Theo Walcott for the first equaliser, and he never inspired confidence positionally or in possession.

MF Jesus Navas, 4 -- Quite how the Spaniard finished the game is a mystery. If he hadn't struggled enough out of position at right-back to have been substituted, then he was on a one-man mission to be sent off after an early booking that could have been a red.

MF Fernandinho, 6 -- It was a mixed day for Fernandinho. In spells, he was doing well to win the ball back and move City onto the attack -- but at other times he was overrun in the middle of the pitch.

MF David Silva, 6 -- It's perhaps understandable given how the game played out that the playmaker drifted in and out of it. When on the ball near the Arsenal box, though, City looked dangerous.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- Did he mean the pass for Leroy Sane's opening goal? If he did, it's one of the best assists you'll see all season. De Bruyne was unlucky to have hit both posts with efforts, too. Beyond that, there were more signs of his recent struggles -- moments of brilliance, but yet something missing.

MF Raheem Sterling, 5 -- It was a difficult afternoon for the England winger, who wasn't able to get into the game. He was unlucky not to earn a couple of free kicks, but beyond that needed to help out makeshift right-back Navas more.

MF Leroy Sane, 6 -- He took his goal calmly, but fans were probably hoping for a little bit more from him -- especially as he seemed to have the beating of the Arsenal defence throughout the first 20 minutes.

FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- Guardiola wants his striker to work across the front of the pitch, and Aguero certainly did that. A superb finish put City back ahead, but he should have sealed the win with two headed chances toward the end.


MF Yaya Toure, 5 -- After replacing Sterling at half-time, the game passed Toure by for long spells and he looked every bit the senior player in a fast-paced midfield.

DF Pablo Zabaleta, NR -- Guardiola put Zabaleta on in the 89th minute for David Silva to spare Arsenal the indignity of not having beaten a side with Jesus Navas at right-back for 90 minutes.