Fancying Arsenal to nick it against City

Since the respective financial rise and fall of Manchester City and Liverpool, the fixture involving Arsenal and the blue half of Manchester has effectively replaced that of the red half of Liverpool. Much as we despise the manner in which their rise has come about the fact is that City are now title contenders and Liverpool, currently sitting second from the bottom and with administrative problems the envy of no club in Europe, are not.

In short, the importance of tomorrow’s game cannot be overstated. Over the past two seasons this group of players has struggled to make an impact in the big games. Although the recent trip to Stamford Bridge showed an improvement in the quality of our performance it ultimately counted for nothing – Chelsea scored twice and took the three points. The same outcome would be potentially disastrous tomorrow.

Last season Manchester City dealt our team a huge psychological blow in their 4-2 victory at the City of Manchester stadium. To lose was bad enough but the fact that Emmanuel Adebayor scored and sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal supporters took things up a notch. That he viciously stamped on Robin van Persie earlier in the game, an act that drew blood and saw Adebayor suspended for four games, should not be forgotten by Arsenal supporters.

Tactically speaking, I expect City to sit back in the same manner that they did at home to Chelsea, looking to use the counter-attack to exploit space left by our team pushing forward. Carlos Tevez is key to their attacking strategy although it remains to be seen where his support will come from: David Silva has been in good form and scored a beautiful goal from the substitutes bench against Blackpool, while Adebayor himself is coming off a midweek European hat-trick.

Although City have already beaten Chelsea this season and sit ahead of us on the table, our boys should not enter this game with any fear. They have a decent base at the back and quality individual players higher up the pitch, but recent games against Blackpool and Newcastle have revealed them to be anything but the finished product. Last weekend, in particular, Blackpool caused City no end of trouble and if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Joe Hart and some last-gasp defending, a 3-1 win could easily have ended as a defeat.

Despite our seemingly endless injury problems the Arsenal team that will start tomorrow will be exceptionally strong. None of the expected front five of Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby and Cesc Fabregas played 90 minutes against Shakhtar midweek, a huge bonus. While Jack Wilshere’s absence will be felt, with Alex Song providing cover for the tough-tackling Fabregas and Diaby, who I expect to spend most of the game playing higher up the pitch behind Chamakh, we have the midfield resources to match City’s three defensive midfielder policy.

Defensively we also look secure. Those who can look past the injury problems to Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny will notice that Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci have played together in three of the last four games, a welcome change to the usual chopping and changing that goes on at the back. Gael Clichy will likely start while the only question mark remains over the right-back position: will it be Emmanuel Eboue or the newly-returned Bacary Sagna?

We are sure to get a lot of the ball tomorrow but at the end of the day what matters is what we do with it. We let Chelsea off the hook with some poor early finishing and this simply must not happen again tomorrow. They will get opportunities too – they are a good side, after all – but with Fabregas back and our recent continuity at the back I fancy us to go to the City of Manchester and nick the points.


Have your say on Arsenal v Manchester City by leaving a comment.



  1. It is never about our midfield or front line….it is always about our defence and has been for four very long seasons now. AFC…are better than most from Song forwards, but are very average from him backwards…we CANNOT keep a clean sheet. So the team knows that they have to score one goal to get a draw…..what sort of load is that to carry into every season since the FAB 6 retired???? It is being sorted but never quick enough. Arsene has resisted call after call and letter after thousand letter for nearly 5 years now , begging him to buy the best CB’s & goalie’s available……..he ignores this and buys junk like Cygan & Stepanovs etc. etc. Now he is buying good but lightweight CB’s…and sticks with two failed goalies. We only lost to Chelski again because of exactly this scenario…….I do not holod my breath for Man City because our front men go out carrying this albatross every game. 2-1 to City unless we convert the early chances we always get…unlike when we let Chelski off of what should have been a 2-0 defecit in the first 8 minutes.

  2. Further to my comments above I would like to know why Arsene has not bought class but strong CB’s like Cahill & Jones from the North West ??? Why because they are not cheap and not foreign……If AW does not hire a great defensive coach like George Graham then we will remain the best footballing side around to finish outside the honours every year.

  3. @ GunnerPete – As far as I’m aware Stepanovs and Cygan are not playing tomorrow. It sounds as though it’s going to be a very fun afternoon for you.

    Chin up mate, football’s to be enjoyed.

  4. i’d like to see the gunners keep their title hopes alive with a victory. The essential requirement for tomorrow will be to defend to the best of their ability. They will also need to compete physically with city’s team. If they dont compete physically and concede a goal first it will become very hard for them to get a result.

  5. At the start of this season, most of us were concerned about the key points listed above by GunnePete. The manager brought in two new CB’s and kept his faith that Djourou would live up to his expectations. Vermaelen’s injury has allowed Koscielny, Squillaci, and Djourou to see valuable playing time. Under the microscope by all fans, their play shows promise of long needed stability from our CB’s.

    Fabianski has had a run of decent matches, and I think his play will be a determining factor for our result against City.

    If this fixture were a month ago, I would not have confidence.

  6. With Koscielny and Squillaci joining Vermaelen at the back this summer, the Arsenal defensive line-up has undoubtedly been firmed up with three robust players that will improve with every game they play together. To see Vermaelen injured has been particularly gutting in recent weeks but as long-term prospects, I think this unit will take some beating over coming seasons. Clichy and Sagna will go one of two ways, sink or swim time for the pair of them with Kieran Gibbs waiting, I suspect for not too much longer, in the wings.

    Our prospects elsewhere on the pitch are full of promise with Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshire and Fabregas representing the crown jewels of the side in the coming years – and yes, I expect Fabregas to stay. The current form of Arshavin remains a puzzle and the prolonged presence of Bendtner a perennial mystery especially given the brief nature of Eduardo’s stay at the club. But there are plenty of major talents emerging as firm fixtures throughout the side – Nasri and Chamakh being just two relatively recent examples.

    But the one area that has, for me, proved to be a near permanent blind spot for Arsene Wenger is the goalkeeping slot. I personally think Almunia is a decent squad goalie but doesn’t appear to have the temperament to handle the scrutiny that goes hand-in-hand with being the first choice player week in, week out. And I’m sorry to say it but Fabianski just does not have the height, the presence or the command of his area to be a genuine squad goalkeeper, let alone a first choice one. He will always be targeted by the physically bigger sides (which is most of the premiership these days), and found out by the quality sides – the Chelseas, the City’s, the Uniteds.

    For Christmas I’d like to see investment in a really top-class goalkeeper. Without this it almost doesn’t matter how good Vermaelen, Kos and Squilacci and co end up becoming; we will always be vulnerable to leaking goals in a way we simply can not afford to at the highest levels. If selling Van Persie and Arshavin are required to raise the funds then so be it because in my view, our needs at the back are greater than our needs at the front. Don’t get me wrong, I’d hate to see either RvP or Arshavin leave but if the scale of the investment in a top goalkeeper necessitates such moves then our priorities must surely dictate that this happens.

    I think tomorrow will be a very interesting game and Mr Weber is dead right, it IS a six-pointer, after all. If Van Persie were playing or Arshavin was on form with Wilshire permitted to play, I would have had Arsenal down as favourites to win despite City’s good home form. As it is, I suspect a high-scoring draw is as likely a result as any …

  7. As far as I can see the team for tomorrow virtually picks itself.

    Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy
    Walcott, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Rosciky

    Clichy not Gibbs for his experience.
    Walcott for his pace on the counter attack.
    Song and Denilson to alternate in covering the back four.
    Fabregas obviously.
    Rosicky not Arshavin as he will provide better cover for Clichy.
    Chamakha because he is on fire at the moment.

    Result… 2 – 1 to the Glorious Gunners.

  8. What cover for CLichy? Please watch all Arsenal games since the first game, Shava has started to track back, just because the masses say Arshavin dosen’t defend, does not mean its a fact. Go download some prozone stats to those who choose the easy way route to put the blame on Arshavin.

    Can’t help it if Clichy is a bit inept at defending against the big teams, we have a defender who is sometimes positionally unaware but has loads of pace. Gibbs is not ready so Clichy gets the nod.

    As Andrew have mentioned before only Fabregas has the quickness of mind to read what Arshavin is up to, if Fabregas plays Arshavin will shine.

  9. Well I obviously believe tomorrow’s game will be ver ver ver tough for us gooners maybe even much more tougher than the Chelsea game cz City never go easy on the big teams n’ they will give their all to make sure they show that they can have a say in the EPL…but from deep inside my heart i pray that we win tomorrow…
    2-0 to Arsenal

  10. i hope d gunners will not allow man city adebayoh to celebrate as he did last season.i also believe dat it is not gonna be a easy game,but i am with d greatest conviction dat we will succeed over also praying 4 van persie and vermalen to return to action.4 fabregas he is gonna be superb tomorrow.
    wishing them all d best.

  11. @GunnerPete. I understand with what you’re saying but that sort finacial tomfoolery has led to the plight Liverpool, Leeds, ManUre and the entire UK is in today. Arsene has a long term strategy because he knows he’s going to be there for another 4 seasons at least and he wants the club as a whole to prosper. Spending up big for short term gain is the rubbish strategy for clubs who change manager every 1 or 2 seasons and live with massive debt. P.S. Rooney isn’t worth a fifth of what he’s been signed up on this week! This deal will just speed up ManUre’s decline.

    Andy you’re dead right about ManC using the Italian sit back and counter attack strategy. That’s how they’ve got on top of us in the past couple of seasons and no doubt will do it again. It’s up to the defence and midfield to not get drawn too far up the park and make sure there’s enough bodies back when they charge up the pitch.

  12. You know what? I’d like to see Eboue start on the right tomorrow….I think he has played quite well the past few games in that position, and I think he is much better at making the attacking fullback runs than Sagna…I suppose he is just might not be as defensively sound as The Bac. Not sure…

    I hope Diaby has a good game tomorrow if he starts – he really needs to assert himself a bit more. He has been playing OK – some good, some anonymous games. City is where he could step up. I wonder if Arsene has considered playing Denilson and Song together to allow Fabregas a bit more freedom? If City are goign to use counterattacking, I would think that having two DMs might be a good answer.

  13. Your refer to Arsenal’s “front five.” I wish that it were. When I was alive, teams had five forwards, three half-backs and two full backs. I think that formation would take City by surprise.

  14. @ Andrew Don’t worry we will not forget Adebayor’s rubbish behaviour. For me he’s the most hated former Arsenal player ever with Cashley Cole right behind him.
    @ GunnerPete Wenger said on the Annual General Meeting that he wants to buy Cahill, so I don’t understand you. Also you’re unfair to Wenger. Why? Do u want to blame him with anglophobia? And then who are Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs and company? ENGLISH!!! Yes I’d like to see more English players, but who? I don’t want to see overrated idiots like Rooney, Lampard, Terry on huge salaries bleeding our club to death.
    @ Andrew Luck I’m an RVP fan (I have his name on my Arsenal shirts), but I’m also fed up with his rubbish injuries. I want him to be properly cured, but if it never happens, then he needs to go. 10-15 games average per season is nothing. Apart from 1 season that’s what he gives us.

  15. Great result. Clean sheet!!! Fabianski was great today – perhaps the best player on the pitch. Thought Wenger got the selection absolutely spot on. Nasri played very well again – looked dangerous every time he got the ball. A goal and an assist.

    Great stuff!

  16. Fabianski was enormous, just unbelievable. The back took some time to settle in and Fabianski kept out some shots that were destined for the net. I have to say also, I am not the biggest Denilson supporter, but he gives a discipline to the side that just would not had been there had Wenger played both Song AND Diaby. Agree with Darragh, Wenger got the selection just right. Kudos to Arshavin to tracking back on that play when Clichy got all the way forward on the break. Arshavin has gotten a lot of criticism about abandoning his defensive duties, but it appears that he has heard the call. Great win!

  17. Super Denilsons best game ever in an arsenal shirt. He didnt score but i though he had a tremendous game. He should start all games against big teams. We need just another person whos willing to stick that leg out. Just to remind the bastard, just because we arsenal doenst mean we can bully you.

    Man of the Match – Nasri
    Suprise of the Match – Denilson
    Goal of the Match – Song

    GO you GOooners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stand Up!!!

  18. I’m extremely proud of my team today, we were fantastic today, but the best thing is, we have SO much more yet to come from this team.

    A general pat on the back to all of our team, especially Fabianski, I knew he would come through allright.

  19. Nasri looked exceptional today. He held the ball well and distributed it fantastically–in addition to the great goal. He keeps continuing his streak of excellent play.


  20. Definitely a great and much needed away win at City….

    Im extremely pleased by Fabianskis performance…I think the majority of saves made were pretty much bread and butter saves (apart from the first minute low stop – an awesome save for any keeper) however this match will have developed his confidence no end and I really hope AW sticks with him rather than bring Almunia back into the line up.

    It was a clear sending off and it was a shame we didnt step up a gear straight away but as AW points out we did very well to keep our heads whilst the tackles were flying in…they tried to rile us and we were close to boiling over but maturity prevailed. I feel sorry for Fab missing the peno (espicially as when you watch the replay hes almost turning in celebration he is that confident….but it wasnt a peno miss it was a sublime save.)

    Nasri is proving his worth this season…I felt last season, despite his awesome solo effort against porto (?) in the CL he failed to push on to what we expected but 7 in 7 is a great sta to have….

    Denilson is a quality player but has always been viewed as one of the kids…He reminds me slightly of a Gilberto Da Silva (not just because hes brazilian) because hes not looking to be the “craque” but be the quiet, effecient and effective one….which he was today…so much so that the brazilian commentators were asking the question as to whether he deserves a call up into the Seleção…..I, personally, think that he has no chance what with Pato, Ganso, Ramires name but three…coming through for Brasil. But Id love to see him play!

    I felt Djourou didnt start well….he was roasted a few times by richards and tevez but he came back well and Im loving Squilacci ….another quiet one!

    All in all with Bendtner and Walcott back in contention we are looking good….I really enjoy the fact that we have so much cover for each position..Eboue, Rosicky, Walcott, Bendnter, RVP, ALmunia, Wilshere, Kos, Gibbs, Diaby all could be bench warmers…but all could equally start….loving it!

    Bring on Newcastle mid week and the Hammers on Sat!!..

    just a few thoughts from a homesick gooner sitting in his new arsenal shirt in a bloody hot Brazil!

  21. yes we can, Arsenal managed to close Man City cloud mouths, it was good evening. Is better to show that football is action not words,but I fear poor making of Djourou against Tevez during first minute of the game.

  22. Finally it went for Arsenal, I think first half was very tense, level, nervous, full of tackles, like a bird on a wire, I would say, I agree that Teves caused much trouble over the right side, I don’t know who played there for Arsenal, it looked sometimes as if the Arsenal player had been a bit too slow for Tevez, agree that Fabiansky had a great game, (you always need some fortune for it) and Nasri, he impresses really since some games now, clinical finishing and one of those who are finishing at all, Faby wasn’t at his best and nevertheless he was so important, there were several decisive moments, at the start a save by Fabiansky (and later on some more), the red card, Nasri’s goal, after the missed penalty I feared City would take advantage of it, but I think Songs goal broke their mentality, and second half at least the final thirty minutes were rel. confident for Arsenal, so great match and finally it went for Arsenal, so more from that stuff …………. 😎

  23. I think previous cl and epl gamer have said it all about our quality.considering what we have on the bench and injured,i can’t wait to see what we got to offer comes end of the season.gooners is where i belong.

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