Three Things We Learned after Manchester City beat Arsenal 4-1

Alan Alger's Three Things We Learned doesn't pull any punches after Arsenal lost 4-1 at Manchester City

Three Things We Learned after Manchester City beat Arsenal 4-1

Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal ties his boot lace during the Gunners chastening 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday evening. Read what Alan Alger had to say. CREDIT: Simon Stacpoole / Offside

Gabriel Jesus is not an underdog striker...

Gabriel Jesus has played nearly 200 matches since coming to the Premier League, only four times has he been in a line-up for a team which started the match as underdogs - and, including last night, three of those occasions have occurred at Arsenal this season.

It's alien territory for him. In fact even his international exploits see him ply his trade for a team which are overwhelming favourites in most of their matches. He is used to playing in teams that will have the lions share of possession. It takes a special kind of skill to feed off scraps and be a lone press when your team are under the kind of relentless pressure that City can muster.

He just wasn't up to it. His stature also doesn't lend itself to a long-ball game where he's asked to win headers and flick-ons to bring others into the action. While he's clearly a better player and finisher than Eddie Nketiah (our only other striker), I'd have preferred to have seen him dropped for this one and Eddie, or Gabriel Martinelli occupy that lone role with an all-action press with the wingers getting forward while they can. Martinelli and Saka were far too wide at times last night, not helped by the full-backs being unable to press on like they usually would. That knock-on effect unbalances the whole team.

Odegaard needs to show he's not a flat-track bully...

I had huge reservations when Martin Odegaard was handed the captaincy of the club. As mentioned in previous columns, he just isn't the 'roll your sleeves up' general I'd been spoilt with in my early years at Highbury. It was definitely a default selection based on Granit Xhaka's past misdemeanours when he had the armband, and with that in mind there really weren't many other choices from our normal starting XI.

This is a player that has gone missing when the chips are down, just look at his recent international record and Norway's failure to reach the World Cup in Qatar. He was at fault for Southampton's second goal last Friday and his pass which led to City's third last night was criminal. Going back further, he went missing for large swathes of the backend of last season when the pressure to reach top four was on. I think we are really seeing why Real Madrid let him go. He's not an elite performer. Flicks and tricks against lowly opposition are not replacements for hard work when we need the team to dig deep against stronger foes.

The team and the manager are not beyond (fair) criticism...

Harking back to the battle lines that were drawn in the Wenger in/out years, it once again pains me to point out that not everything is so clear cut when discussing this great club of ours. It's perfectly acceptable, and dare I say completely correct, to feel that overall the players and the manager have worked wonders this season, while still being disappointed in how tamely we've let things slip in recent weeks.

As an honest and passionate guy I'm pretty sure that Mikel Arteta will spend most of the remainder of this week reflecting on what he got wrong last night. I'd also expect him to ask his players to dig deep into their own minds to pull out any wisdom which can help him in his search. Expectation will always work hard to give a real-time relative view of what's good and bad.

Expectations were raised and we enjoyed the ride. We were flat broke and someone gave us £100,000, but we've also possibly lost a lottery ticket that would have won us a million.

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