Sunday, May 17, 2015

It Happened in England: City holds, Arsenal steals a draw

Swansea City 2-4 Manchester City
The story of this one will be the horrid defending from Manchester City when they had the lead. They got early goals from Yaya Toure and James Milner, but allowed Swansea to level the score by the 64th minute. Gylfi Sigurdsson made it 2-1 at the stroke of half-time and Batefimbi Gomis tied it at the 64 minute mark. It was like City got up two and then decided to just go through the motions for the rest of the game.

After the equalizer they woke up again. Toure bagged what would be the winner in the 74th minute. Then they went back into lazy City mode and almost conceded twice before the final whistle. Wilfried Bony got the fourth in stoppage time, but had it not been for a pair of fine saves from Joe Hart, Swansea very well could have earned the draw.

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal
Manchester United owned this game pretty much right from the start. It took a while to get their first real chance of the game, however. It came at the half hour mark and it led to an instant reward. Ander Herrera was able to connect on a cross form Juan Mata to put the Red Devils up 1-0. A few minutes later, Radamel Falcao had a great chance on another cross to the far post, but his header was soft and right at David Ospina. Arsenal, while having a couple runs of possession, failed to even take a shot in the first half. It was the first time they failed to take a shot in the first half of a Premier League game in nearly 11 years.

Arsenal's second half was much better than the first, though they still had trouble finding the final ball against the stout United defense. They got a break midway through the second half when David de Gea was subbed off with an injury. With the second best keeper in the world now on the bench, Arsenal might actually have a chance if they could get a shot. Arsenal finally got their goal on a rather harsh own goal off Tyler Blackett in the 82nd minute. Theo Walcott got free along the right flank and took a shot at a poor angle. Blackett got a foot to it, but the deflection took it right over reserve keeper Victor Valdes and into the net. Arsenal were in a good position to steal a draw in a game where they were horribly outplayed. They even had several chances for Olivier Giroud to find a winner, but every time he messed it up somehow.

Today's results affect the final order of the top four. The City victory marches them closer to a second place finish , though they can still be caught by Arsenal. The main question left to be answered is who finishes fourth and has to play in a two-legged qualifier to get into the group stage of the Champions League. Right now, Arsenal sits in third with two points and a game in hand over Manchester United. A win on for Arsenal Wednesday against Sunderland or Sunday against West Bromwich Albion will send the Red Devils to that qualifier.

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