Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson lost his 100% record in the Barclays Premier League but remained upbeat after Kasper Schmeichel’s heroics almost earned them a point at Arsenal.
Schmeichel saved Robin van Persie’s penalty in the second half at the Emirates Stadium, but it was Cesc Fabregas who broke the deadlock, finding the top corner with 10 minutes remaining as City conceded their first goal of the season.
“It is tough to lose but I think we played better than against Manchester United,” said Eriksson. “I am rather happy: we worked hard, we stood up to Arsenal when they moved the ball around, as they are famous for, but we also played some good football.”
For all of Arsenal’s possession, Richard Dunne and Micah Richards combined at the heart of City’s defence to frustrate the hosts, the only mistake from Richards coming in the 66th minute when he brought down Alexander Hleb.
Schmeichel denied Van Persie with his legs before Fabregas scored the winner. While Eriksson is looking to bolster his squad with a striker, Schmeichel’s form means he is not in the market for a goalkeeper.
“After I saw Schmeichel the first time, I said that we would only get a new goalkeeper if we found a new Petr Cech or someone like that,” said the City boss.
“The way he is playing at the moment, we could ask no more from him. I don’t think he could do much about the goal, he saved the penalty and even though he is not the biggest keeper, he has a presence you can feel from the bench. He is very brave as well.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lost Philippe Senderos (ankle) in the warm-up and Bacary Sagna (back) in the first half. After late wins against Fulham and Sparta Prague, the Frenchman was delighted with another example of his side fighting until the end.
“I was worried a bit but the side is ready to fight until the last second. The defenders had a lot of work to do and they did it very well,” he said.
“Eventually Fabregas came through and the midfield is getting goals now. We won with style, against a good side and we defended very well. We created chances but even when things didn’t go for us we kept going.”