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Arsenal v Manchester City Hoovers. Opening day blues for us and the champions

By Bulldog Drummond.

This is the hardest game to select a team for, as we have not yet seen the manager in action when not testing out the players in the pre-season matches.

Maitland Niles is the obvious replacement at left back,  and I suggest Monreal will not even make the beach so he is certain to be ready for Chelsea.

Regarding the middle it looks to me that for games like this where nullifying a very strong attack is essential we have two defensive midfielders – Xhaka and Torreira.  My guess is that they will not only play today but also next week at Chelsea.

And of course we will have to score against a very good defence so we will play our best attacking formation with our best supplier sitting behind.

The only doubt I have is at goalkeeper level, as when Emery announced his group of captains he included Petr Cech, which suggests he is still first choice.

As for the match – it is the seventh year running we have started at home.  In the last two seasons it has been one win by 4-3 and one defeat by the same score.  I hope the players recognise there are older members of the community in the stands and that too much excitement on the first day may not be good for the elderly.

Here’s the list of opening games at home: three defeats, two wins and a draw.

  • 18 August 2012: Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0
  • 17 August 2013: Arsenal 1 Referee 3 (we were supposedly playing Villa but the ref was the main obstacle)
  • 16 August 2014: Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 1
  • 9 August 2015: Arsenal 0 West Ham 2
  • 14 August 2016: Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4
  • 11 August 2017: Arsenal 4 Leicester 3

Mr Emery said about his opposite number, a Mr P Guardiola, “I am 46, he is 47. He started his career as a bigger player than me. His career as a coach is bigger than me.

Mr Guardiola said of Mr Emery, “He is an excellent manager. What he achieved – three Europa Leagues in a row – is excellent. He is a good manager and it is good for the Premier League.”

So all very pleasant and nice.

If Manchester City do win it will be the first time they have won consecutive away games in the league against Arsenal since 1936.  And 1936 was of course part of the decade when we were at our absolute best.

The last time we started the league campaign against the champions was in August 1970 when we faced Everton and drew 2-2.  I’m just trying to find out what happened that season.  Got to look it up.  Hang on, nearly there.  No one has mentioned this on the media.  Now what happened?  Oh yes.  We won the double.

But if being justifiably wary about Manchester City we need to remember our home form last season, although sadly that stat lets us down.  Our one defeat in the last 11 PL games was against Manchester City.

However to compensate, here’s one rather droll thought.  In each of the last three seasons the champions have then ended outside the top four. In 2015 Chelsea won the league in 2016 they were 10th.  In 2016 Leicester won the League and in 2017 they were 12th.   In 2017 Chelsea won the league and in 2018 they were 5th.

Unfortunately it is also true that Manchester City have won their last seven season openers in a row.

But enough of such doom and gloom (although the one about the champions then finishing outside the Champs League spot is rather good, I think) let us turn at last to the Arsenal line up

We need to stop an attack that scored 45 away goals in 19 games last season.  Hence I would certainly put two defensive midfielders in the team in front of the back four.   And we are certainly going to have to score (playing for a 0-0 would be ludicrous) so we need our best chances of a breakaway goal.

Leno

Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Maitland-Niles

Torreira Xhaka

Ozil

Mkhitaryan Lacazette Aubameyang

Beached that would leave

Cech, Holding, Lichsteiner, Guendouzi, Elneny, Iwobi, Mavropanos

I am still not sure about the keeper though.  I can’t see a manager spending a lot on a keeper and then not playing him, but on the other hand Cech was nominated as one of his captains.  As usual, I wouldn’t take my words for – and I wrote them!

And here’s a final thought: Arsenal scored more home goals in the league last season than any other team except one, Manchester City.  With 54 home league goals (2.8 a game) we were nine ahead of the third team (Liverpool) and a whopping 14 goals ahead of Tottenham in third position for that statistic.

Whatever happens I’ll still be there for the next game.

Arsenal v Manchester City Hoovers

28 comments to Arsenal v Manchester City Hoovers. Opening day blues for us and the champions

  • Menace

    A little overcast toady in London so there could be some good benders on long shots. I’m hoping our boys play a combination of passing into the goal as well as long shots. I hope Guendouzi plays as he seems to be one of the best long ball passers ever.

    We are playing a team that has had a lot of praise and benefits but our game is much more superior, and with Emery’s systems, I can see us winning despite the P****.

    COYG

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Big day also for Alex Scott our former Women’s captain who becomes the first female pundit on Sky Sports ‘super Sunday’ show. Hopefully she will be more objective than the usual male suspects.

  • Gord

    With respect to the curving of balls (I would call this Magnus effect, but it seems the British scientist Robins is more to be thanked), it would seem that in the instance of a baseball being thrown by humans, the flight of the ball is nearly independent of humidity.

    http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2007/ph210/pelc1/

    Some of the work presented above, is as recent as 2003.

    Another look at how spherical balls travel through air has a tennis slant.

    https://fogmountaintennis.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/atmospheric/

    Nice quote at the end:

    Like a lot of tennis lore, prevailing beliefs about how atmospheric conditions affect the game are a combination of truths, half-truths, and delusions made credible by repetition and recirculation.

    In any event, humidity has very little effect on the path of a tennis ball.

    So it is unlikely that humidity has a large affect on a football.

    —-

    In the early games, I am hoping for a State Aid win and a draw.

    COYG!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Liverpool’s third goal was clearly offside

  • GoingGoingGooner

    West Ham is trying to dribble out of the Liverpool press…little success.

    Jack is being played as a deep lying midfielder. His positioning and communication with his back four is not that great. Against Liverpool and WHU are only playing one holding midfielder (Jack)…very optimistic. Still, with time they might be a tidy side but right now they look pretty open at the back

  • ARSENAL 13

    first game of the season….

    let the emery show begin.

    come on gunners

  • ARSENAL 13

    Looks like for the first time in his career Emery has a squad which can take on any one (read Pep)…

  • Polo

    Come on Arsenal.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Cech unsighted. Guendouzy lost his man probably at fault

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL

  • GoingGoingGooner

    freak injury to Maitland-Niles

    A settled team playing against a team learning a system…still, there are openings for us.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Cech having a torrid time playing the ball at his feet.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sad for Maitland-Niles ….. Hope he’s not injured. Big season for him.

  • Jammy

    In the future I think I would like to see Torreira and Geuendouzi being given the nod in front of Xhaka. No matter how good Xhakas long balls are, the regularity in which he gives away the ball in extremely dangerous and completely unnecessary positions is always going to hurt us. Two times he has done it already in this first half. Unless of course he can get that out of his game, but the amount of times he has done it since joining us I just can’t see that happening.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    A big learning day for us.
    I think most Gooners are relieved at the arrival of half time, though we were a lot more solid the last 15 minutes of that half. Though Guendouzi was at fault for the goal, I think he brings a lot to the team. Socratis is doing well in the middle and our counter attacks were looking better as the half developed.
    The haters are going to hate regardless of the final score. As long as we keep working and improving, I think most supporters will be OK.

  • Polo

    Still in it, all the running around, hope the team don’t run out of gas.

  • Polo

    How’s that not a penalty for Arsenal? Mustafi got hooked back.

  • Jammy

    Polo – As we all know, the PL doesn’t need VAR; our referees do get 98% of decisions correct after all.

  • U Know Who

    Game OVER! Optimistic, no realistic, we could have won everything entered last seaosn, we were robbed. This season is a big ask, but e got given the dodgiest openers, I don’t care if they are depleted.

    Then why do you go against the best attack in the league with a kid in the middle of the park? Another one, out of position at Left back, invert Ozil and Mikhitaryan oaying Aaron at 10 and then take him off, when he didn’t go to any internatnal competition all summer.

    Pleasant, Unai sounds like a man with an inferiority comple, Pep a man assured of his own and his squads ability, giving the necessary genuine pleasantries before a match.

    Aaron, I love you dude, don’t sign, you and Hazard would be foolish!

    You play Torrerira, Elneny and Aaron, you start Reiss, you start Mihki and go 4-4-1-1 with Ozil and Auba the outlets, you play compact, you stay in and make them lay between the lines if they can, Burnley can do it.

    It has all the premise of A DESIGN aimed at being dismantled a year on, good components, poor sum total. And so we had to go get a GK, making little off a GK, but don’t play the GK and the GK is as shite as he was last term.

    Source, twice LB, why, because no natural cover in wide areas.

    Post if you want to , don’t if you don’t, but I’m spelling out, what I spelt out, wit the evidence to support it.

    Yes Jammy, no officiating bias whatsoever, Pogbas run up was amazing wasnt it, hwadline worthy, just like that Liverpool scoreline, and the shady performance in that Spuds 2-1.

    Remember as soon as the fixtures came, what I said, before the season was over, what I said, and then know, I’m off, Wenger was right!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Lacazette has had a couple of great chances but…

  • GoingGoingGooner

    0-2 They were better than us. As mentioned earlier, our positioning is a work in progress. In addition, we had Guendouzi, Socratis, Lichsteiner and Torrreira on the pitch. The opponents knew where to be and where their teammates would be because of a system that has been in place for several years and with few additions this summer. A reason, not an excuse.

    Onwards and upwards Gunners!

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • Polo

    Today the team look like they are in transition phase, after a few more competitive games, I think good times ahead.

  • Gord

    I am going to guess that Xhaka’s yellow card was for persistent infringement, probably his second foul (third?). The notes are mostly incidents where I think the referee should have done something and didn’t. Exception is that the referee talking to theplayers twice in a couple of minutes. There is nothing in the commentary to suggest a reason why. Is he just telling the Arsenal players that they should roll over and die, so that Man$ity can win the game? While Man$ity has the possession, the only statistic which seems to show that they were attacking more than us, is the number of corners they got. At half time, we have gotten treatment 5 times, for now apparent reason. We hurt ourselves? No fouls by Man$ity? No cards to Man$sity for excessive roughness?

    Notes
    3 Reckless challenge there. Aymeric Laporte commits a rough foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – no card
    4 Raheem Sterling from Manchester City looks to have committed a foul on Matteo Guendouzi but the referee is not having it and waves play on!
    4 Raheem Sterling is shown a yellow card by the referee (What happened? Are these 2 separate incidents?)
    35 Ainsley Maitland-Niles is injured and is replaced by Stephan Lichtsteiner. There was no card associated with the foul at 30 minutes.
    41 Ilkay Guendogan from Manchester City looks to have committed a foul on Granit Xhaka but the referee is not having it and waves play on!
    58 Play has been stopped while the referee talks to the players. Why??
    62 Play has been stopped while the referee talks to the players. Why??
    67 Dangerous challenge by Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City. Stephan Lichtsteiner on the receiving end of that.
    73 Reckless challenge there. Kevin De Bruyne commits a rough foul on Lucas Torreira
    73 Kevin De Bruyne is shown a yellow card by the referee. Shouldn’t this now be a red?

    %Arsenal Cumulative Possession
    05 47
    10 44
    15 48
    20 39
    25 41
    30 40
    35 41
    40 38
    45 40
    45+5 40
    50 41
    55 41
    60 41
    65 42
    70 44
    75 46
    80 45
    85 45
    90 44
    90+5 43

    Stats 10min
    Shots on target 1:1
    Corners 0:2
    Offsides 1:0
    fouls 0:2
    yellow 0:1
    treatments 2:0

    Stats 20min
    Shots on target 1:2
    Corners 0:3
    Offsides 1:0
    fouls 1:4
    yellow 0:1
    goal kicks 0:1
    treatments 2:0

    Stats 30min
    Shots on target 2:4
    _off target 0:1
    Corners 0:5
    Offsides 1:1
    fouls 2:4
    yellow 1:1
    goal kicks 0:1 ?
    treatments 2:0

    Stats 40min
    Shots on target 2:4
    _off target 0:2
    Corners 0:5
    Offsides 1:1
    fouls 3:4
    yellow 1:1
    goal kicks 3:1
    treatments 5:0

    Stats HT
    Shots on target 2:4
    _off target 2:3
    Corners 0:6
    Offsides 2:1
    fouls 3:6
    yellow 1:1
    goal kicks 4:3
    treatments 5:0

    Stats 52
    Shots on target 2:4
    _off target 2:4
    Corners 0:8
    Offsides 3:1
    fouls 3:9
    yellow 1:1
    goal kicks 4:3
    treatments 5:0

    Stats FT
    Shots on target 3:8
    _off target 5:5
    Corners 2:9
    Offsides 7:2
    fouls 11:14
    yellow 2:2
    goal kicks 7:8
    treatments 5:0

    It looks like we should have gotten a few more shots off.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I can say without any prejudice that referee Michael Olverl was very partal against Arsenal in this match by allowing Man City to carryout unpunished violent play unlimited in the game against Arsenal. AMN and Lichtsteiner are 2 clear cases of violent play by Man City against them. There are other Gunners who suffered violent play too by Man City whom I’ve skipped. I say this not because I am an Arsenal supporter but it was what I watched him referring in the game live as I watched the match. And If I may ask, are Man City the PGMO’s anointed team to win the PL Title this season again as they were anointed to win last last season by the same PGMO and they won it?

    Notwithstanding, Arsenal marksmanship in this game was not of a big game quality and that leaves much to be desired. But my Kudos must go Guendouzi for the yoyo mn holding job he did for Arsenal in this match up to when he started to show sign of tiredness in the 2nd half just before Man City scored their 2nd goal. But main the reasons for the Gunners failing to score in this game was that their goals scoring threats were not efficient as Aubameyang’s and Lacazzete’s sootings in the 1st and 2nd half were off the mark couple with the inability of Aubameyang to keep possession of the ball under marking and pressure by the opponent player. And Ozil and him can’t beat the offiside traps of Man City.

  • Menace

    3 Reckless challenge there. Aymeric Laporte commits a rough foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – no card
    Should have been a yellow at least. It was a kick to Auba from behind with no intention of getting the ball. A red would not have been out of place.

    4 Raheem Sterling from Manchester City looks to have committed a foul on Matteo Guendouzi but the referee is not having it and waves play on!
    Sterling should have been carded for the foul & then for kicking the ball away.

    4 Raheem Sterling is shown a yellow card by the referee (What happened? Are these 2 separate incidents?)
    Sterling going down because of Brexit maybe but Oliver was very gentle with his approach to City.

    35 Ainsley Maitland-Niles is injured and is replaced by Stephan Lichtsteiner. There was no card associated with the foul at 30 minutes.
    This injury was a direct result of Walker fouling him within 3 yards of the incident. Fans went wild but Oliver was counting Dirhams.

    41 Ilkay Guendogan from Manchester City looks to have committed a foul on Granit Xhaka but the referee is not having it and waves play on!
    Oliver allows advantage but should have come back with a red card. The foul was brutal. Oliver decided to bargain for a moment with Guendogan.

    58 Play has been stopped while the referee talks to the players. Why??
    There was a free kick outside the box (not sure if this was the incident time). Oliver walks away from the incident to talk to a City player (probably bargaining).

    62 Play has been stopped while the referee talks to the players. Why??
    67 Dangerous challenge by Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City. Stephan Lichtsteiner on the receiving end of that.
    73 Reckless challenge there. Kevin De Bruyne commits a rough foul on Lucas Torreira
    73 Kevin De Bruyne is shown a yellow card by the referee. Shouldn’t this now be a red?

    I don’t know what more to say after so many obvious cheating corrupt maneuvers by Oliver. His assistants ignored several offsides by City but called a few correctly against Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Thanks Menace.

  • nicky

    We simply should not be over-critical of our display yesterday.
    Eleven individual Arsenal players played against a team, full of confidence and cohesion.
    It would have taken a miracle for us to have won.
    Emery asked for patience and we have to give it to him.
    There will be an improvement next weekend against Chelsea and further improvements as the season progresses.
    It’s bound to with the newbies we have signed.
    All it needs is more bonding and this will come naturally.;)

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