EPL

Manuel Akanji frustrated after Manchester City’s draw with Arsenal

By Sports Desk April 01, 2024

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji is puzzled as to how Arsenal got away with some “clear yellow cards” during Sunday’s foul-filled scoreless draw.

After seeing Liverpool move top with a comeback win against Brighton, the other title contenders played out a forgettable 0-0 draw featuring just three shots on target at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal seemed happier with the point than City, whose frustration was palpable as the visitors avoided booking for the 20 fouls against them by referee Anthony Taylor.

The only yellow cards they did receive were for time wasting against Gabriel Jesus and David Raya, leaving defender Akanji irritated.

“I don’t understand,” the City man said. “One in the first half (from Kai Havertz) was a very late tackle on Stefan (Ortega). For me it is clearly a yellow card.

“I don’t want to say just against us. There were also some decisions against them that I didn’t understand that he gave a foul for.

“There are some rules and I think there are clear yellow cards where it should be.

“I remember the action with Jorginho when he’d already done a tackle foul and did the second one and he didn’t even give a yellow card for one foul.

“I didn’t understand some decisions but, in the end, we still should be able to score a goal.”

Put to Akanji the approach worked for Arsenal, he said: “Definitely. When we got through sometimes they stopped us with the fouls and if there’s no actions to it it’s hard.”

City, who sit third in the table, have to shake off that frustration as attention quickly turns to Wednesday’s home match against fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Pep Guardiola’s men have not lost in all competitions since December’s 1-0 reverse at Villa Park and Akanji believes everything is to play for in the title race.

“Yeah, I mean how many games do we have left? Nine, so yeah 27 points to get,” he said. “That’s our goal to get all of them and then we’ll see how it ends.”

Arsenal also return to action on Wednesday, kicking off 45 minutes earlier against relegation-threatened Luton.

The Gunners will go back top of the Premier League should they win as Liverpool do not return to action until Thursday and Jesus is just focusing on what they can do in the title fight.

“It’s the Premier League, it’s a tough league and anything can happen,” the former City forward said.

“It is only two points the difference [with Liverpool] and then we have a very good goal difference.

“Everything counts at the end, but there are still a lot of games. We also have the Champions League. This is the most beautiful part of the season, you try everything to win titles.”

Jesus has widespread experience of this stage of the season having won four Premier League titles with City, where he came into the line-up on Sunday and had Arsenal’s best chances in the first half.

“Well, to play big games, you have to sometimes change your body language,” he said. “To come here and play against them is not easy.

“We tried to win, I think we could win it. Maybe we played a different game to what we normally do, but sometimes football is like this. Each game is different.

“We had some chances, we could score and maybe win the game, but that’s football. We take the point. To come here, to play against them, is difficult, it’s hard.

“We came last season and we suffer a lot, we concede goals and then we made some mistakes. So, to play against this team, normally it is hard and if you make some mistakes, it is even more (hard).

“Today was a bit different, we knew from the start at some point we had to suffer a little bit (playing) deep. They are a team who love the ball, we do as well, but sometimes it is difficult.”

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