Into by Tony Attwood
I left England as the Beast from the East was a few scattered snow showers, the motorways were clear and there was no disruption to air traffic. I’ve read there might be a threat of disruption to this game – you’ll know better than I since I’m about as far from the action as it is possible to imagine.
Here’s the usual preview, by Bulldog Drummond…
So we play the same game again. The prime difference is that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available of course, but Nacho Monreal who went off early looks to be unlikely. Manchester City likewise lost a player – Fernandinho – who got a hamstring so won’t play. Delph is suspended, and as for Stirling, well, who knows.
The biggest problem facing Arsenal is the crowd. The media made a lot of Arsenal’s fall from grace – and it struck me (not for the first time) how funny it is that when Arsenal win cups, they are of no importance, but when we lose a final, suddenly it is very important. Ah well, that’s journalism.
Arsenal remain the third best performing home team in the league…
But Manchester City are the best performing away team
Which shows how strong they are as we all knew. But the fact remains that the results of Arsenal at home and Manchester City away are identical: 10 wins, two draws, one defeat. Arsenal have the better of the goal ratio with 36 to 14, against 29 to 10. But it is a narrow lead.
The press have been talking up the fact that Manchester City would be the first team to beat us three times in a season since Chelsea in 2005-06, should they win.
Now much has been made of the fact that we have not had 90 minutes without conceding a goal for nine premier league matches – but we have had such runs before.
Of course Cech is still one game away from 200 without letting in a goal – it would be the ultimate irony if it did it in this match. Likewise an assist from Ozil will give him 50 assists in 139 League games – which will be a new record low number of games for getting to the 50 in the Premier League.
Of course we know this is a record breaking season for Manchester City, and I won’t bore you with going through all the details – they are being printed in all sorts of other publications. What does worry me however, as I have mentioned, is the impact of “fan” and press negativity both at once.
Now I know that many people object to the notion that the behaviour of fans in criticising a team should have any impact on the team, because they should be professional and motivated enough to rise above such things. But then, if that is the case, why do “fans” and the media voice their criticisms, if it has no impact?
Moving on, because most of Manchester City’s success has come as a result of the input of vast sums of money (such as the building of most of their main stadium and all of their training and youth facilities without the club having to pay for it), and this influx of money of course has been quite recent. If we look back over time we see a broader picture, in which Arsenal have beaten MC 96 times while they have beaten us 52 times. There have been 45 draws.
But the current spell is not the only time we have had difficulty with this club. At the end of the 19th century Manchester City were unbeaten against Woolwich Arsenal in nine consecutive matches, and even in the latter part of the 1930s they managed four wins in a row against us. But that run immediately preceded a run of 14 games in which Man City failed to win a single one of the games against Arsenal.
In fact even the last ten games haven’t been too bad for us…
|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|
|25 Feb 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-3||League Cup|
Three Manchester City wins in the last ten – the period of their dominance. Four wins for us and three draws.
As for the team we could go for this…
Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Koasinac
Ramsey Elneny Wilshere
Mkhitaryan Aubameyang Ozil
On the beach playing in the snow, Ospina, Holding, Chambers, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck.
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