It’s another trip to Manchester and we don’t seem to travel very well there. Our only defeat away from home this season was in Manchester and we head there again under some tough circumstances. Our third game in 7 days, the players have had little time to recover and this would prove a real test of their fitness levels. City have a bigger squad and can rotate a lot better even though it shouldn’t be an excuse as all teams had the same amount of time to improve their squads during the summer and if you intend to compete in major competitions in a season you must make use of the summer to prepare for that.
City did their business nice and easy and even had deals in place before they signed their new manager, an awesome example of how to effectively use the transfer window unlike us. Players like Fernandinho and Negredo have bedded in excellently while the rest have somewhat struggled especially away from home. Haven’t done the maths but I am certain if a league table was drawn based on just home games this season City would be ahead by at least 4 points. They have scored 29 goals at home this season conceding just two (scary stat). Away form has been abysmal prompting this response from Wenger when quizzed on how he would play City he said we would make them feel they play away.
Wenger spoke glowing about Mathieu Flamini and how he has brought much needed stability to our defence with his approach to it. Someone who has done same for City is Fernandinho and I am surprised he hasn’t been getting the praise he deserves, I watch City a lot and no one in that team Aguero aside sticks to getting their job done and does it as effectively as he does especially when you play with Yaya Toure as excellent as he is but really doesn’t hold any position. Sort of like how Arteta and Song used to play for us.
This sure will be a tough test for us and any sort of result here aside from a loss would be great . Defensively we are the best in the league and Wenger would have reminded the players that it didn’t come on a platter, their performances earned it and coming against Aguero, Negredo, Silva, Yaya all top quality players would be a great opportunity to show our improved quality in defence. Sagna hopefully should be fit for this game, Jenkinson will come through but he is not there yet and it was very evident in Napoli that he struggled a bit especially with his crosses. To be fair to him not having someone really play in front of him didn’t help him but Sagna would be an awesome addition to this game.
Theo wasn’t brought in at all against City and I would very much expect that he starts this game, Theo might not be great at ball retention but like Ozil his mere presence on the pitch gives the opposition something to think about, his pace would keep Clichy back and even though Clichy doesn’t offer much of an attacking threat honestly 1 v1 against Theo I would expect Theo to clean him. Manager also says we have Podolski back but might not have the match fitness for this one, Santi has been struggling down on the left and hopefully he gets a few games in the middle now someone else can play there. The midfield is our strength and the fact that we can bring Wilshere and Ramsey on fresh for this game shows the abundance of quality we have there.
City have players that are capable of causing damage on their own. Aguero’s is one of the best players in the world and Negredo seems to have settled in very well. To get anything out of here players like Silva and Yaya must not be allowed to dominate midfield .Would the manager be tempted to go with Flamini and Arteta again, I don’t think it really works but we have mostly restricted our opposition to more of long range shots at our goal this season as written in this excellent post by @7amkickoff and today would be a good day to ensure Aguero doesn’t come close to the box another addition to Koscienly’s pocket maybe?
Prediction: Manchester City 1 – 1 Arsenal
Should be a good game and its early so getting a good result would be good for how we watch the remainder of the games this weekend and Arsenal doesn’t play for another 9 days so the players have enough time to fully recover to play Chelsea. A loss here is nothing to be shameful about (except it comes in the manner Man United and Spurs suffered it), a draw would be a good result but a win guys, a win would lay a huge huge marker!
Have a great day Gooners.