The Premier League has experienced a goal-scoring surge this season. But Mikel Arteta’s team have created an edge by eliminating chances

Who said football was supposed to be fun? Sunday’s meeting between Manchester City and Arsenal was billed as an epic showdown between sorcerer and apprentice that might decide the league title. It produced a total of three shots on target – which is to say as many as Brentford had against Manchester United between the 53rd and 55th minutes. Admire the tactical machinations if you like, the levels of concentration and the planning that went into it, the obviously refined level of the lack of action, but this was shit on a stick for the TikTok generation.

In fact, in many ways it was worse. When the great former Argentina forward Jorge Valdano came up with his line in Marca to describe the second leg of the 2007 Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea – “Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it’s a work of art. It’s not: it’s a shit hanging from a stick” – he was at least describing a knockout tie.

Continue reading...