Arsenal – the “monster” Manchester City created (according to reports)



The Arsenal juggernaut rolls on

By Bulldog Drummond

The constant theme of the media is that the rise of Arsenal is a surprise – which is a bit odd because they were also seen as a surprise last season.   It is a story they have to keep running, simply to excuse the media’s total failure to understand what was going on at the club.

They failed to see the enormous improvements made by the signings of Arteta, and the tactical changes made at least in part to overcome the influence of PGMO on Arsenal, and instead focussed their attention on such issues as the first three games as last season, seeing them as far more important than the remaining 35.  Indeed if one looks at the table based on the last 35 league games of last season Arsenal were two points above Chelsea, seven points above Tottenham, and 18 points above the sixth placed club Wolverhampton.

And I mention this because the Guardian is re-running its old story this morning: “What would the response have been if Liverpool had tried to sign a couple of Manchester City’s fringe players last summer? The smart money is on City refusing to sell. They surely would have regarded Liverpool as the likeliest threat to their hopes of retaining the Premier League title and seen no value in making it that easy for them to strengthen their squad.”

In other words Arsenal were lucky: they only got Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko because Manchester City couldn’t see what was happening to Arsenal, presumably because…. well they were taken in by all the media hype about Arsenal’s first three games of the season, rather than the remaining 35, during which Arsenal performed as the third best team in the league, behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

So, the implication is that by helping take Manchester City’s focus off what was really happening at Arsenal, the Guardian has aided Arsenal’s rise and helped the club get Jesus and Zinchenko.

And the conclusion is that Manchester City have “inadvertently created a monster,” in Arsenal.

All this is a preliminary to their suggestions for the team that might be put out tonight with the possibility of game time for Rob Holding, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney, with Fábio Vieira and Leandro Trossard also starting.

This piece was written by Jacob Steinberg, a man perhaps better known for being the ghost writer of Glenn Hoddle’s and Mark Noble’s autobiographies – obviously a good apprenticeship for pontificating on Arsenal.

Meanwhile The Telegraph keeps it simple.  Arsenal’s secret is out of the bag (although it was hardly a secret).  “Everyone has cottoned on to Arteta’s histrionics now,” the article says, focussing on what it calls Arteta’s “risible antics.”   Risible generally means ludicrous… so the secret of Arsenal being top of the league is the ludicrous activity of the manager.   Although perhaps not quite so ludicrous when one looks at the league table.

Five points clear of second-placed Machester City, 11 points clear of the two clubs in third/fourth, and 14 points clear of the media’s favourites and hot tip for more Champions League football next season, Tottenham H.  Oh yes and all this with a game in hand.  (Or two if you consider Tottenham).

One more point.  In an earlier piece I looked at the last six league games of Arsenal and Manchester City.  But what happens if we look at the last ten league games and pick up the teams that were considered by the media to come out above Arsenal in this campaign.  The full table is provided here.


Premier League Form (Last 10)
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 10 8 2 0 22 6 16 26
2 Newcastle United 10 7 3 0 16 2 14 24
3 Manchester City 10 7 1 2 20 10 10 22
4 Manchester Utd 10 6 2 2 17 10 7 20
9 Liverpool 10 5 1 4 13 13 0 16
12 Tottenham Hots 10 4 1 5 18 19 -1 13
14 Chelsea 10 2 3 5 7 11 -4 9


So yes, whichever way we look at it, Arsenal are doing better of late than all their hotly-tipped rivals, each of whom was expected to do rather better than Arsenal this season.    While of course today we are concerned about the form of Manchester City, ahead of tonight’s game, the form of Tottenham and Chelsea across these last ten matches is rather interesting, both clubs losing more than they have won, and both have conceded more than they have scored.  

But to return to tonight’s game, across the last ten league games Arsenal have outscored Manchester City, have a better defence than Manchester City, and (just to note in passing) have accumulated twice as many points as the much fancied (by the media) Tottenham Hots.

Yes indeed.  it really is a funny old game.



3 Replies to “Arsenal – the “monster” Manchester City created (according to reports)”

  1. I find it very interesting that the failure of City to make the best out of Jesus and Zinchenko – most probably because of the overall quality of their squad – is now seen as a gift to Arsenal.

    I mean, no one pointed a gun at these 2 players to force them onto the train to London, right ? They must have had their good reasons to leave the richest club in the Galaxy and the best manager in the Universe. And I can’t think that Arsenal can match the salaries at City. So there were personal reasons.

    And if this is the logic, then Real Madrid made a huge present in letting Odegaard leave, etc, etc…

    Thinking about all these players who blossomed at Arsenal, I was struck by what seemed to me an oddity I had not thought about. So help me…. please ?

    Can you name me players who blossomed after having left Arsenal, who made a real difference in their next team, were better after Arsenal ? In the same way Odegaard, Jesus, Zinchenko are being better at Arsenal then where they were before.

    Because at present, I don’t have that many who come to mind. Which means either that Arsenal only have poor players, or that Arsenal are good at making players better and keeping them when they are best.

  2. Reading this article, I get the feeling that the media spouts off more nonsense than when Wenger was in charge.

  3. @Ben,

    yeah…. I just laugh when I read stuff like : Arsenal should be worried because after their win over Sp*rs, City look to have started a run….

    I mean…after their loss over Manure this autumn, Arsenal have been on a run for months and games…

    So let them have their perspective. I, for myself, know we’ll see an Arsenal team that is not going to the Etihad worried about losing again, but a team who will want to win and who know they actually can.

    Deadwood journalists….

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