Manuel Akanji accuses Arsenal of tactical foul in draw against Manchester City | Manchester City

Manuel Akanji has accused Arsenal of stopping Manchester City with fouls in Sunday’s goalless draw and questioned why referee Anthony Taylor didn’t punish them more often.

The result at the Etihad leaves Liverpool two points clear of Arsenal at the top of the league and third-placed City a further point behind with nine games remaining. Mikel Arteta’s side defended in a low block and with aggression and asked Akanji if he felt they often did so illegally: “Absolutely. When we got through, sometimes they stopped us with fouls. If there is no action (from the referee), it is difficult.”

Akanji wondered why Taylor didn’t intervene. “I don’t understand. One in the first half (by Kai Havertz) was a very late tackle on Stefan (Ortega),” he said. “For me it’s definitely a yellow card. I don’t want to just say against us. There were also some decisions against them where I didn’t understand why he gave a foul.

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

City’s goal of winning a record fourth successive title is now out of their hands, but the Switzerland international remains confident they can achieve it. “How many games do we have left? Nine, so yes, 27 points are up for grabs. Our goal is to get them all and then we will see how it turns out,” he said. “I’m confident. Of course we wanted to win and didn’t get the three points, but everything is still open and there’s still room for maneuver. Nine games in the Premier League, next week there’s the quarter-final against Real Madrid in the Champions League. We’re still in it (in the FA Cup). (We can) win them all and hopefully we can.”

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

Akanji said: “A lot of time has passed since that defeat. “We are in a different place, Aston Villa are in a different place. We try to do our best. We’re playing at home now. I think, like most teams, we play differently at home than away. Hopefully we can play a dominant game and not like there, because Villa deserved to win. We didn’t play a good game. Hopefully we can change that 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 City as substitutes and Akanji welcomed the competition they provide in attack. “In the end, it’s not my decision who plays up front,” he said. “They are all doing their best to play in the next game when we have to give our best and hopefully win.”

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