Man City and Arsenal play out boring draw to hand Liverpool title lead – 5 talking points

MANCHESTER CITY 0-0 ARSENAL: Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta offer a cagey match that does not live up to expectations and gives Liverpool a lead at the top of the Premier League

Neither side could break the other( Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Arsenal ended their Premier League losing streak at Manchester Citybut failed to produce the knockout blow they needed to return to the top of the table.

The Gunners arrived at the Etihad Stadium on the back of eight straight league wins, but failed to knock out their opponents, who had beaten them seven times in a row previously at home in the league. City extended their unbeaten home run to 39 matches in all competitions, but are three points behind Liverpool with nine matches remaining in the title race, while Arsenal are a point better off.

In a lackluster first half, the best chance fell to Nathan Ake, but he was unable to generate any power on his close-range header from a corner. Arsenal’s best openings fell to Gabriel Jesus, who hit the side netting with a half-chance at the far post.

Pep Guardiola And Mikel Arteta both introduced attacking players off the bench, but there was still nothing to get excited about in the second half as defenses prevailed. Arsenal will come away with a hard-earned point against a team who had scored in 57 consecutive home games, but there was no grandstand finale. Here are the talking points from the first goalless draw in the Premier League in two months.

Football > chess

Mikel Arteta speaking to one of his chess pieces, Gabriel Jesus(DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

It was a first half worthy of all the common football phrases that are used to describe what would best be described as ‘lackluster’. Was it a “chess game”? A “tactical battle”? Did Guardiola and Arteta’s teams “feel” each other? Either way, it wasn’t particularly pleasant to watch.

It’s understandable – although disappointing – that these big matches often tend to be disappointing once we’ve given them the hype and preparation they deserve. The stakes are high and, as such, players can perhaps be forgiven for being conservative from the start, fighting their way through and avoiding risky passes.

We should have known this was coming, really, with both managers so familiar with each other and both teams playing four centre-backs across the backline. But you can imagine how many disgruntled neutrals watched from pubs across the country as this unfolded. At the half-time whistle, not even Peter Drury’s famous turn of phrase could disguise the situation as anything other than disappointment.

Haaland chained

Erling Haaland was well supervised by Gabriel Magalhaes(DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

This may not have been the most exciting viewing, but credit goes to Arsenal defense, which proved why it is the best in the premier league – and why they have had seven clean sheets on the road this season. Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba form a strong partnership, built on organization, anticipation and physicality – and they dominated Erling Haaland.

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