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3 Nov 2017

Five strange things that happened in Arsenal's away Man City win that have never been seen again

By: Charlie Eccleshare

Turning point or false dawn? That was the question being asked when Arsenal went to the Etihad in January 2015 and taught champions Manchester City a footballing lesson in a 2-0 win.

As it turned out, the answer was "very much false dawn". Arsenal haven't beaten a fellow 'Big Six' side away from home in 14 attempts since, and have suffered eight defeats in those matches - five by a margin of two goals or more.

Ahead of Arsenal's visit to Manchester City on Sunday, Telegraph Sportlooks at the strange things that happened on that supposedly landmark win at Eastlands two years ago.

Sit deep, soak up pressure, threaten on the counter

The statistic that caught most people's eye in the immediate aftermath of Arsenal's win was that they had only enjoyed 35 per cent of possession.

The game plan (unless it just happened entirely by accident, which is perfectly possible) was to sit deep, soak up City's pressure and hit them on counter where Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's pace offered a genuine threat.

Against Chelsea earlier this season, Arsenal were thought to have pulled off something similar, but in reality the matches differed in two major ways. One was that Arsenal were set up as offensively as normal at Stamford Bridge, with no out and out holding midfielder, and the second was that they had very little threat on the counter. In the second half, Arsenal only actually mustered one shot, which was off target.

There have also been matches since the City win where Arsenal have similarly ceded possession but on those occasions this was largely out of their control - such as when down to nine men at Chelsea two years ago or away at City last season when they simply couldn't get the ball off Pep Guardiola's side.

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