By Bulldog Drummond
I was just doing my usual meander around the history of the Arsenal v Manchester City fixture and was looking up the runs of matches on the usually very accurate 11v11 web site when I noticed something rather strange.
They quite rightly have the first game between the two clubs listed as Woolwich Arsenal v Ardwick in division 2 on 11 November 1893, and they show the score as the classic 1-0 to the Arsenal. But when one looks at the Arsenal team it is shown as a rather unusual 3-3-5 formation, which when one pauses to think, doesn’t actually include a goalkeeper.
In fact they have the right team, but haven’t realised that after three consecutive horrific defeats prior to the Ardwick game Arsenal conceded 15 goals. As a result the Committee of the club who selected the team (we didn’t have a manager in those days) dropped the goalkeeper, and not having a suitable reserve available, put the Arsenal left back, the wonderfully named William Wall Jeffrey, in goal.
Jeffrey played six games in goal, starting with the Ardwick (Man City) game, winning three, drawing two, losing just one (a 6-2 defeat to Burton Swifts) before Williams (the regular keeper) went back in goal and Jeffrey went back to left back.
And that wasn’t the end of it, because in February 1984 Jeffrey got another three games in goal before moving back to left back again. It really must have been quite difficult to run a blog and predict the teams in the 19th century. Especially as internet connectivity wasn’t nearly as good as it is today.
But to return to the present, tomorrow we take on the money. It is I suppose a little amusing to see the newspapers defend Manchester City’s position in the financial league table by saying that Arsenal are fourth, and therefore ought to be able to compete. But we’ve been through exposing that nonsense so often it hardly bears repetition.
If we look at the last ten games of Manchester City it is of course as impressive as that much money would lead one to expect.
|09 Jan||Manchester City v Bristol City||W||2-1||League Cup|
|14 Jan||Liverpool v Manchester City||L||4-3||Premier League|
|20 Jan||Manchester City v Newcastle United||W||3-1||Premier League|
|23 Jan||Bristol City v Manchester City||W||2-3||League Cup|
|28 Jan||Cardiff City v Manchester City||W||0-2||FA Cup|
|31 Jan||Manchester City v West Bromwich||W||3-0||Premier League|
|03 Feb||Burnley v Manchester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|10 Feb||Manchester City v Leicester City||W||5-1||Premier League|
|13 Feb||FC Basel v Manchester City||W||0-4||Champions League|
|19 Feb||Wigan Athletic v Manchester City||L||1-0||FA Cup|
Seven wins, two defeats, and a draw including of course a spot of hoo-ha at Wigan.
And as we have noted before, counting from 2010/11 onwards Manchester City have won the Premier League twice, and the FA Cup once. Three trophies. Arsenal have won the FA Cup three times. Three trophies. But of course I forget, our trophies don’t count.
Anyway, what we can all agree on is that Manchester City score goals: 26 in the last ten, obviously 2.6 a game. Our run of the last ten gives us
|07 Jan||Nottingham Forest v Arsenal||L||4-2||FA Cup|
|10 Jan||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Cup|
|14 Jan||AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|20 Jan||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||W||4-1||Premier League|
|24 Jan||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||League Cup|
|30 Jan||Swansea City v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|03 Feb||Arsenal v Everton||W||5-1||Premier League|
|10 Feb||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||L||1-0||Premier League|
|15 Feb||Östersunds FK v Arsenal||W||0-3||Europa League|
|22 Feb||Arsenal v Östersunds FK||L||1-2||Europa League|
Four wins, five defeats and a draw – not the best form we have ever seen. 19 goals, or 1.9 goals a game – against 2.6 for the Sovereign Wealth Fund. On that basis they ought to win – although not necessarily by that much. 3-2 probably.
However if we have a look at recent Wembley appearances in cup finals and semi finals and community shield games in the past four years we find we have played nine and won the lot. Man City have played two and won both.
Turning to the League Cup, as you’ll know, we have won it twice and been runners’ up five times, while Man City have won it four times and been runners’ up once, their last two wins being in 2014 and 2016.
Moving on to the last ten games between the two sides…
|29 Mar 2014||Arsenal v Manchester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|10 Aug 2014||Arsenal v Manchester City||W||3-0||Community Shield|
|13 Sep 2014||Arsenal v Manchester City||D||2-2||Premier League|
|18 Jan 2015||Manchester City v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|21 Dec 2015||Arsenal v Manchester City||W||2-1||Premier League|
|08 May 2016||Manchester City v Arsenal||D||2-2||Premier League|
|18 Dec 2016||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|02 Apr 2017||Arsenal v Manchester City||D||2-2||Premier League|
|23 Apr 2017||Arsenal v Manchester City||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|05 Nov 2017||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
Four wins for Arsenal, two wins for Manchester City, four draws which edges it in our favour. Overall the sides have played each other 192 times and Arsenal have won 96, Manchester City (including the games when they played as Ardwick) 51. From 1994 to 2004 the clubs played each other 12 times and Arsenal won each and every one of those games. Those were the days.
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