Arsenal play Manchester City in the strangest of times

by Bulldog Drummond

You know times are weird when Liverpool start being criticised by the media.  As with the Mail that said, “All Liverpool had to do to remain revered champions was not be a self-serving club like Manchester United… they failed by trying to sell English football out for a sack of cash.”

Mind you they also see this weekend’s game as “The BIGGEST Merseyside derby in Premier League history”

As for Arsenal the Guardian comes up with “Partey time for Arsenal at the Etihad?”

Their view is, perhaps for the first time in the Premier League’s history, that Arsenal have had a good transfer window, with Partey being the final piece in the jigsaw.  They comment that “While Willian offers experience and Gabriel Magalhães has vast potential, Partey is a 27-year-old operating at the peak of his powers, arriving from a club that has operated on a higher plane to Arsenal in recent years. He could be a game changer and Arteta will surely be tempted to start him at the Etihad.”

But of course they will always take us down a little suggesting that vast praise of a similar type was “heaped on Torreira” when he arrived, noting that “instant adulation or condemnation must be avoided.”  We shall see if the media manages to do that.

So we enter the game tomorrow still high in the injury league, and still without anyone offering an explanation to the fact that if our being high in the injury league under Mr Wenger, was all the manager’s fault because of his pre-historic training methods, how come we are still up there two managers later?  Here are the physioroom numbers…

  • Everton: 10 injuries
  • Newcastle United: 10 injuries
  • Leicester city: 9 injuries
  • Crystal Palace: 8 injuries
  • Arsenal: 7 injuries
  • Brighton and Hove Albion: 7 injuries
  • Burnley: 7 injuries
  • Leeds United: 7 injuries
  • Sheffield United: 7 injuries
  • Manchester City: 6 injuries
  • Manchester United: 5 injuries

Other clubs have fewer than five injuries.   Here are our injuries from

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Late test? Status
Shkodran Mustafi Thigh Injury Aiming to be back in full training 31/10/2020 Ruled Out
Pablo Mari Villar Ankle/Foot Injury Aiming to be back in full training 31/10/2020 Ruled Out
Emile Smith Rowe Shoulder Injury Now back in full training further to shoulder injury sustained in August. 17/10/2020 Yes 50%
Kieran Tierney Virus test Oct 15: “We are still having some discussions with the authorities” 17/10/2020 Yes 25%
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Ankle/Foot Injury Oct 07: “Aubameyang suffers from a small sprained ankle. The Arsenal doctor sent me a certificate indicating his unavailability. He is in care for a week.” 17/10/2020 100%
Gabriel Martinelli Knee Injury Will step up his rehab with the aim of a return to full training by the end of the calendar year.” No Return Date Ruled Out
Calum Chambers Knee Injury Aiming to be back in full training as soon as possible this calendar year.” No Return Date Ruled Out

So although the number is high, Aubameyang is actually recovered, Tierney has nothing wrong with him but is stopped by Scottish rules, and Smith Rowe simply needs a few practice games.

As for Manchester City… their list of players has everyone potentially able to return tomorrow – that list being Aguero, Gundogan, Gabriel Fernando, Zinchenko, Sterling, De Buryne.

And here’s a nice little stat, this one picked up by Sports Mole

“Manchester City are now in danger of going three Premier League games without a win for the first time since April 2017, when incidentally the third match in that run saw them draw 2-2 with Arsenal.”

A portent?

Well maybe not.  If we look at their Premier League matches at the end of last season and on to this, they had six successive Premier League wins followed by a defeat and a draw in the last two games.

They can be caught out of course – before that run started they lost to Southampton.  And in that run of six successive wins they scored 24 – obviously an average of four a game.

Any talk of their downfall might be seriously premature.  But…. yes the last two games have been as surprising as their defeat to Southampton back in July 1-0. For the last two results have been a 2-5 home defeat to Leicester and a 1-1 draw away to Leeds United.