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Manuel Akanji accuses Arsenal of tactical fouling in Manchester City draw

Manuel Akanji accuses Arsenal of tactical fouling in Manchester City draw

Manuel Akanji has accused Arsenal of using fouls to stop Manchester City in Sunday’s goalless draw and questioned why the referee, Anthony Taylor, did not penalise them more often.

The result at the Etihad leaves Liverpool two points ahead of Arsenal at the top of the league and third-placed City a further point back with nine matches remaining. Mikel Arteta’s side defended in a low block and with aggression and, asked if he felt they had often done so illegally, Akanji said: “Definitely. When we got through sometimes they stopped us with the fouls. If there’s no action to it [from the referee], it’s hard.”

Akanji wondered why Taylor did not step in. “I don’t understand. One in the first half was a very late tackle on Stefan [Ortega],” he said, referring to a challenge on City’s goalkeeper by Kai Havertz. “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 why he gave a foul.

“There are some rules and I think there are clear yellow cards where it should be. I remember with Jorginho when he’d already done a tackle [which was a foul] and did the second one and he didn’t even give a yellow card for one [foul]. I didn’t understand some of the decisions but, in the end, we still should be able to score a goal.”

City’s aim of a record fourth successive title is out of their hands but the Switzerland international remains sure they can achieve it. “How many games do we have left? Nine, so yeah 27 points to get. That’s our goal to get all of them and then we’ll see how it ends,” he said. “I’m confident. Obviously we wanted to win and didn’t get the three points but it’s still all open and to play for. Nine games in the Premier League, we’ve got a quarter-final in the Champions League against Real Madrid next week. We’re still in [the FA Cup]. [We can] win them all and hopefully we will do that.”

Aston Villa visit on Wednesday and are the last team to defeat City, with a 1-0 win at Villa Park on 6 December.

Akanji said: “A lot of time has passed [since that defeat]. We’re in a different place, Aston Villa are in a different place. We’re trying to do our best. We play at home now. I think like most of the teams we play differently at home than we play away. Hopefully we can have a dominant game and not like the one we had there because Villa deserved to win. We didn’t play a good game. Hopefully we can change it and improve on the things we didn’t do well today and get the three points.”

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Jérémy Doku and Jack Grealish impressed for City when coming on as substitutes and Akanji welcomed the competition they offer in attack. “In the end it’s not my decision who plays up front,” he said. “They’re all giving their best to try and play in the next game when we have to show our best and hopefully win.”

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