By Bulldog Drummond
We know for sure that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won’t be brought back for today’s League Cup quarter-final against Manchester City. He’s still got the calf injury, apparently and the club won’t know how long he’ll be out until after the next scan.
“He will have another scan in the next few days and we will see how quickly we can get him back in the team,” is what the club has said.
Our record against Manchester City is not good – you’ll recall the 2018 final in which we really didn’t put up a solid fight against Manchester City and went out 3-0 at Wembley. Prior to that we lost in the quarter finals in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
Overall we are still way ahead of Manchester City in the head to head having won 98 to their 58, which means that if they keep on beating us twice a season they will finally draw level with Arsenal in 2040. But of course since the club has been able to rely on an infinite amount of oil wealth, with no one reigning them back in, it is difficult for clubs that rely on money that they actually earn, to compete.
Indeed as we are occasionally reminded, in the 1930s Arsenal were known as the “Bank of England team” because of the money we spent on transfers – but all that money came from ground receipts. No sponsorship, no advertising in the club programme, just big crowds.
Indeed since the start of 2016 we have played Manchester City 13 times and beaten them twice, once on 23 April 2017 in the FA Cup, and once on 18 July 2020, again in the FA Cup.
This will be the tenth meeting in the League Cup. We have won five of the previous encounters.
And here’s an interesting thought from the BBC’s website. Manchester City have won their last three away matches against Arsenal, all in the Premier League. The last team to win four consecutive away matches against Arsenal were Chelsea between 1960 and 1965 (six in a row).
Mind you, during that time our league position as the end of each season was 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th. But to give a slightly better spin on our history, this is our 29th appearance in the quarter finals – more than any other club.
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And we have won 19 League Cup matches at the current stadium, which is more than any other club except Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (20). We have won seven of the last eight played at home.
Now the team…
Sports Mole offer us
Mustafi, Gabriel, Luiz;
Bellerin, Ceballos, Elneny, Kolasinac;
Willock, Lacazette, Saka
The Hard Tackle goes for
Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
Bellerin, Willock, Elneny, Saka
Pepe, Lacazette, Nelson
The Independent tries
Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos,
Pepe, Lacazette, Willian
The Sun however goes out on a limb
Bellerin, Gabriel, Luiz, Tierney,
Pepe, Lacazette, Saka
which is one of the most interesting predictions seen this season.
It is particularly interesting that most media sites are not prepared to take a punt on the line up despite portraying themselves as the experts in the whole business of knowing what Arsenal are up to. We don’t offer our own predictions because I got so many wrong in the past, and hence we started putting up other people’s predictions so the range of choices could be seen. But these scribblers in the papers are the self-styled experts, but they can’t work this out at all.
Ah well. At least some of them tell us the score, and the general expectation is a 0-2 win to Manchester City.
A defeat will make it eight games in a row excluding Uefa Cup matches where we have not won. But on the other hand, all runs come to an end some time. The question is just when that “some time” actually is.
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