By Bulldog Drummond
We have taken just 11 points out of the last 18 in the league. That doesn’t sound so good. Although we’ve won the last two games. That sounds better. But Man City are having greater trouble. They’ve actually got ten points out of the last 18, including being beaten by Liverpool!
Put it another way, in the last six in all competitions we have won four, drawn one and lost one. They have won four and lost two.
But the problem with games between two top clubs is that much of the time you can find all sorts of statistics, but if you are a regular (ie often nervous) supporter there’s that worrying feeling that the opposition will today show that they are able to overcome recent setbacks, and that stats mean nothing to them, while for us, the nerves will be too much.
What makes this game even more of a difficult one to see is that the newspapers will insist on heaping praise on Giroud. Even the most rancid of the bloggettas and the newspapers in which we used to wrap our fish and chips, have laid off him of late. The Telegraph says he is “looking more and more impressive with every passing week,” which given the frequency with which they get things wrong, is deeply worrying.
Mind you they also say, “Mesut Ozil, also, isn’t bad. Despite what David Moyes thinks.”
The consensus is that Alexis Sanchez won’t be risked from the start, but might come on later. Mikel Arteta could also be lounging on the beach. You know who is out, it is repeated every five seconds in the media.
Here’s the physioroom comparison chart. I’ve included the “latest player” column this time just to show we ain’t had any more injuries since Santi.
|#||TEAM||TOTAL INJURIES||LATEST PLAYER INJURED|
|1||Newcastle United||10||P Cisse|
|6||Crystal Palace||6||C Wickham|
|7||Stoke City||6||S Ireland|
|8||West Ham United||6||A Carroll|
|10||Manchester United||5||J Lingard|
Alexis is included in that list of seven for Arsenal. If he is ok then we’re down to sixth, equal with the mighty West Ham who, as Untold reported earlier, were looking to be bigger than Tottenham recently. An interesting aspiration.
Sergio Aguero, who has missed four games, is back however. Vincent Kompany is still out, along with Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando and the obnoxious Samir Nasri.
Mr Wenger said, “It is a massive game. When we play at home, you want to win because we are ambitious and we feel we have the chance to come out in a strong position after Christmas.
“It will be a very tight game because if you look at the numbers since the start of the season, offensively and defensively the numbers are very close. Manchester City has huge individual potential with David Silva and Sergio Aguero coming back and so we will need a top, top-level team performance.”
Meanwhile the Man C man Man Pellegrini said, “It’s not a decisive game as after this we have to play 21 games more.” (Actually I don’t think you can shorted Manuel to Man but it just struck me that you might).
The Man went on, “It’s important to try to be the best team from the first round, to play against a team with one point more. It’s a game of six points, to win three and to take three off a rival. We must consider Leicester – they are still top of the table. United are just a few points behind us. Tottenham can be involved, so can Liverpool and Crystal Palace.
“It’s impossible just to think there are two teams involved in the title.”
One of the points about the injury “crisis” however is it led to a suddenly settled team – we know pretty much who is going to be out there, and that is a good reason to be less nervous. There is no “x will come in for y”.
Aaron Ramsey is playing in his favourite midfield position and the defence knows exactly who they are, where they are and what they do. And like the Telegraph says, it is not that the jury is still out on Mesut. There is no jury.
The last three meetings between the two should give no room for worries or concerns – unless you then think “we’ve been doing all right, so it all evens up in the end…”
- Manchester City 0 Arsenal 2 (Cazorla, Giroud) Premier League, January 2015
- Arsenal 2 (Wilshere, Sanchez) Manchester City 2 (Aguero, Demichelis) Premier League, September 2014
- Arsenal 3 (Cazorla, Ramsey, Giroud) Manchester City 0 Community Shield, August 2014
Perhaps the most worrying thing is that Mark Lawrenson said, “I’m going for Arsenal to win this one, and go on to win the title comfortably. I’ve watched Man City a few times, and they keep on falling over the line against teams.”
Not sure what line it is that they fall over but I am sure there is one somewhere. But he did make one point.
You have to think Arsenal are probably going to go out of the Champions League to Barcelona, and Man City should go through against Dynamo Kiev. City also have another two games in the Capital One Cup, where they usually play their best side, so there’s four extra matches.
They might well be considering all that is coming up in the coming weeks.
What in fact we seem to have is a season in which Arsenal are looking reasonably steady while other teams do all sorts of funny stuff. Yes we lost against WBA in bizarre fashion, but much of the time it is a regular Arsenal performance and a regular step forwards. We didn’t go beserk last week against Villa, we just got on and did it. That for me is the making of a good side.
Next up – after the preliminaries – the preview, and the team, and some other stuff.