Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.
Arsenal take on Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday and our Talking Heads for this game are Dan Roebuck, Martin Hayes and Sian from A Girl Who Loves The Gunners.
Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the match.
DAN ROEBUCK, PRESENTER
Arsène Wenger summed it up perfectly when he said that Arsenal got encouragement when they actually needed points. A draw would have been a fair result when you consider the way Arsenal took the game to City, especially after going behind, and if Vermaelen had been more fortunate with his two late strikes then it would have been a point apiece. Szczesny made some important stops, Koscielny was outstanding at the back and Arteta shone in midfield, but my pre-match hope that Walcott would make the difference did not materialise. RVP proved that he can still fashion a chance from nothing and he will feel aggrieved after having a goal chalked off. Lots of positives then, and that bodes well in the race for fourth place.
It's not easy to find a chink in Manchester City's armour but Monday's defeat at Chelsea might have provided it. Not only did Mancini's team finally lose a game in the Premier League - that will dent their confidence at the very least - but they also lost Clichy to suspension after he was sent off for two bookable offences. With Kolarov also out - injured during City's Carling Cup win at Arsenal - the leaders will have to make do at left back and that might give Walcott a chance to make hay down the visitors' right-hand side. Indeed, Sunday's game could be decided by who deals best with absent full backs because Arsenal will once again have to play centre backs on the flanks. I think that works quite well in away games though with less emphasis on overlapping and more focus on defending set-pieces well.
MARTIN HAYES, STUDIO GUEST
Unfortunately a 1-0 defeat after a good game and a good effort from Arsenal. I think we took the game to City and did our best, but we came up against a better bunch of players. They had a bit more pace and energy and Arsenal weren't quite good enough. Having said that it's clear that we have made huge improvements since our last major trip to Manchester and there are plenty of positives to take from the game. Hopefully when a few players come back from injury we'll have a better shape and can kick on in the New Year. Now we need to end 2011 with nine points and that will build momentum going into 2012.
From Arsenal's point of view this is a good time to face Manchester City because they are on a good run of form and their confidence is high. City have not been playing badly themselves, they've just been beaten by some late goals in recent games. This will be a real test of Arsenal's credentials but if they want to cement a top-four spot and keep City within touching distance then they have to take points against these teams. City's strength is that they can score goals from all over the pitch. They have an incredible strikeforce with Dzeko, Balotelli and Aguero, but the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure also pop up with goals. My concern is that Arsenal don't have that and if City keep Van Persie quiet then we might struggle for chances. Either way, Arsène Wenger won't sit back at the Etihad - he has his philosophy and he will stick with it. I can see Arsenal getting some joy on the counter-attack with the pace of Gervinho and Walcott and I'm expecting a fascinating contest.
SIAN, A GIRL WHO LOVES THE GUNNERS
I think the team can count themselves unlucky to have not walked away with something from the match. We took a while to put ourselves back together after Johan Djourou went off and City scored, but beyond that I thought it was a level game with some massive chances at both ends. Joe Hart was simply annoying yesterday, getting himself in the way of most of our shots, but then again I reckon City fans will be thinking the same thing about Wojciech Szczesny this morning. I would say our man of the match was Mikel Arteta. Thomas Vermaelen was magnificent again, but when is Thomas not magnificent? As the boss would say, overall it was a performance to be proud of, especially against a team as strong as Manchester City at home. Admittedly it was against a different team, but look at the difference between yesterday and the last time we played in Manchester. Sadly the points outcome is the same but this was a really gutsy performance. If we can keep that up over the next few games, the hard work will pay off more than it did on Sunday.
Taking on the league leaders away from home is never going to be a simple task but it comes at a good time at least. After a period of real fixture congestion with Champions League and Carling Cup matches over the past couple of months, we’ll be playing City on Sunday on the back of an eight-day break. We’re clearly in good form as well, while they just lost their unbeaten run to Chelsea. Our only experience of them so far this season has been that 1-0 defeat in the Carling Cup, but I think it’s safe to say the line-ups will be almost completely different this time around. I really like our team at the moment though. I know it sounds silly, but they seem to be becoming a real unit, so hopefully we can continue to build on that with an impressive display on Sunday. I normally avoid predicting scorelines as I’m terrible at it, and the last three times I did it for a website, we lost. So my mouth is staying shut on that front!
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Dec 2011