Manchester City v Arsenal: the team

by Bulldog Drummond

The BBC as usual give us a score prediction (1-1) but no team predict ion.   Today is exactly the same, but they do tell us that  “Arsenal could lose seven league matches in a row against the same opponent for the first time since doing so versus Ipswich between 1974 and 1977.”

And we are encouraged in that thought because four points after three matches is their lowest since 2010/11.  But they have only ever lost both of their opening two home fixtures in a season: 1930-31 and 1953-54.

As for us, they tell us that we’ve won eight of the past 12 Premier League games, one more than in the previous 28 attempts.  And our 25 points from those past 12 fixtures is the same as Liverpool’s.  No one has achieved more.

We have however won four of the first five games in the league before – the last time was 2013/14. – and that was quite a strange start to the season.

We lost the first game 1-3 at home, to some of the worst refereeing decisions I think most of us have ever seen – and that really is saying something.   After that however we picked things up…

Date Match Result Score Competition
17 Aug 2013 Arsenal v Aston Villa L 1-3 Premier League
21 Aug 2013 Fenerbahce v Arsenal W 0-3 UEFA Champions League
24 Aug 2013 Fulham v Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
27 Aug 2013 Arsenal v Fenerbahce W 2-0
Agg: 5-0
UEFA Champions League
01 Sep 2013 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 1-0 Premier League
14 Sep 2013 Sunderland v Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
18 Sep 2013 Olympique Marseille v Arsenal W 1-2 UEFA Champions League
22 Sep 2013 Arsenal v Stoke City W 3-1 Premier League
25 Sep 2013 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 1-1 (3-4) League Cup
28 Sep 2013 Swansea City v Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
01 Oct 2013 Arsenal v Napoli W 2-0 UEFA Champions League

Aston Villa on the other hand, after what should have been a morale boosting opening match (which I seem to remember drove their fans utterly wild with anticipation managed to win only three out of the next seven, one of which was a league cup game against Rotherham United.

By the end of that run they were 13th in the league, while Arsenal were in fact top, 14 points ahead of them…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 10 8 1 1 22 9 13 25
2 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 16 8 8 20
3 Liverpool 10 6 2 2 17 10 7 20
4 Manchester City 10 6 1 3 28 11 17 19
5 Southampton 10 5 4 1 11 4 7 19
6 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 1 2 9 5 4 19

Our problem has been, however, that we can’t beat another top six club away.  We have had 28 goes and the last club we beat was… Manchester City in January 2015.

Meanwhile it seems we have the smallest number of shots on target, but the second highest conversion rate.  We are obviously lulling the opposition into a false sense of security. 

And if Laca gets a goal that will be goals in four consecutive league appearances for Arsenal for the first time.

Looking at the teams, Sports Mole offer us


Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney;

Ceballos, Thomas, Saka;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

90 mins goes the same way but has Maitland-Niles in for Tierney at full back – which is quite likely if Tierney does not get dispensation to play because of bizarre antics around the corona test.

The Standard is playing its usual trick with a “confirmed” team news which is nothing of the kind, but their line up shows us that by and large there is agreement as to what our best line up might be.


Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang


Football London tells us that “In defence Arsenal were handed a welcome double boost this week when Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi returned to first team training. The former has been sidelined since December so it seems unlikely he would be sharp enough for a place in Arteta’s plans. Mustafi could be get closer although Arteta is likely to have enough options that the German will have to settle for a place on the bench. Whether he is required to do that may well depend on the availability of Kieran Tierney.”

Tierney we might note has tested negative on three separate occasions, and he has covid antibodies in his system which means he has had the disease and has recovered.

They also suggest that it is possible that Aubameyang might play in the middle.  But in the end, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing they settle for


Holding, Luiz, Gabriel;

Bellerin, Partey, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

The Guardian came in a bit after the others, but go there in the end with the same team selection as Football London.  But as ever they also give us a list of other players from whom the subs can be chosen.  In Arsenal’s case that list is:

Rúnarsson, Macey, Saliba, Tierney, Soares, Papastathopoulos, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Elneny, Willock, Nelson, Pépé, Saka, Özil, Nketiah, Smith Rowe.



14 Replies to “Manchester City v Arsenal: the team”

  1. what is the rule on touching an assistant referee? Aguero put his hand around the neck of the assistant after she ruled against him on a throw-in…?

  2. It is a red card for a sexist action. The VAR official is obviously not against the caressing of female officials.

    The high foot by Walker on Gabriel was a definite penalty but VAR didn’t look at it because it was not clear and obvious………

    The Mahrez pull on Pepe for a good couple of seconds was not a booking because it is OK to do it to an Arsenal player.

  3. Menace…yes, condescending and sexist. I don’t what a high foot is any more…seems to be random.

  4. I would have been some upset if Gabriel had been given something for that coming together with Bernardo…the City player through himself at our CB who simply turned his back.

  5. I would like to see a stat of where on the field we have possession.
    It feels (don’t know for sure) that half of the time we have the ball we play it around in or just at the edge of our own penalty area.
    A wise man (JC -not Jesus Christ but Johann Cruyff) once said : that is the place where you can not win the match but you can lose it. Not literally but he meant that in order to prevent the other team from scoring you have to keep the ball as far away from your own penalty area as possible. A certain AW also believed in that.
    But anyway the time we lose with playing the ball around there is the time we miss at the end of the match when we try to score a goal.
    We can have all kinds or remarks about the ref but if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot with that tactic we will always struggle.
    I feel City was there for the taking today but we seemed to affraid to go for it.

  6. The positive note: What an amazing talent Saka is. He did more for our attack on his own than Abua, Pepe, Willian and Laca together.

  7. Walter, I wonder if it is a purposeful tactic to spread the field out and create space. But, if that is the case, then we are not doing the next thing which is midfielders running into space, albeit backwards, to give options to our defenders. When they receive the ball, they should have the option of knocking it back to a defender, turning their defender or squaring to a winger. We’re not seeing that.

  8. Agreed Walter. The playing in the back quarter is gifting the opponent rest and safety. The movement to the forwards was so rare and mostly happened when Saka or Tierney took the ball forward.

  9. As expected we lost to city at their home ground. The game was not attractive from both ends .As surprisingly Pep also not going full throttle. Probably in the absence of KDB Pep was not confident and the FA cup loss was still afresh in his mind.

    Being Arsenal fan these days is not a great idea as we are evolving with Arteta style of play obviously not to my liking along with a large number of grooners obsessed with Wengerball.
    So watching Arsenal matches not exciting enough these days.
    Maybe watching Bielsa,s Leeds is more entertaining imo.

    I don’t think with the inclusion of Partey we will be seeing a fluent style of play as it seems now with Arteta we have said bye bye to Wengerball. We may finish the season better than last year but finishing top4 seems uphill at the moment imo.

    But Hey guys why finish top4 we were told by the idiot fans that we will win the league once Arsenal get rid of Wenger.
    Could those idiot fans come up and say sorry to us.

  10. I thought it was quite a poor game all round. Arsenal didn’t create very much, and neither did Man. City. I think we need to revert to a back four to allow the midfield to dominate possession and provide the much needed link-up between attack and defense.

    Kavanagh and (lack of VAR) was the difference between the two teams. Did anybody else notice City’s rotational fouling tactics? They have become a very cynical team over the course of the last four seasons.

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