There has been plenty of column inches written about the approach adopted by Roberto Mancini at The Emirates, much of it critical as being endemic of the 'anti-football' and 'Catenaccio' philosophy of having an Italian manager.
What has been missed in much of the commentary and observation is that the approach was by and large out of synch with recent displays (both at home and on the road - where we of course possess the league's best record) that have yielded both points and goals, not to mention some impressive and attacking football along the way.
Far from a negative approach, consecutive road victories at Fulham, West Ham and Newcastle were achieved with pace, movement and fluent passing.
Recent games have also seen Yaya Toure operating in an attacking role, at the tip of the midfield trio and very much in support of Carlos Tevez - not as one of the three holding, defensive-minded midfielders. This is clearly evident in the following chalkboard from The Guardian that shows where he attempted his passes both on Wednesday evening in comparison to the away victory at Newcastle on Boxing Day:
This clearly shows a much more withdrawn performance from Yaya Toure, and - a couple of forays aside - far less prone to the marauding runs seen of late, and meant that Carlos Tevez was far more isolated (particularly so given the performance, or lack of, from Jo).
We know that Tevez drops deep for the ball and earns much of his success in doing so, but again a comparison between the Arsenal game and the Newcastle game shows that his impact was less in the final third and more in the middle third of the pitch:
Both chalkboards may of course be indicative of how Arsenal managed to force City back after such a fast start (something they have not been given credit for amidst the condemnation of Mancini's tactics) as much as a defined instruction from Mancini.
Either way though, for those who have watched City regularly (particularly of late) this season, will know that the tactics on display were very much an isolated occurrence as opposed to being regularly adopted over the course of the season so far.