Arsenal v Manchester City: the team (according to the pundits)



By Bulldog Drummond

As usual we finish our previews of a game with the team as selected by the media…

The Mirror comes in with a lineup of

White, Gabriel, Saliba, Zinchenko; 
Partey, Xhaka; 
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; 

And although the Standard has the same line up there is a slight difference in the positions…

White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; 
Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; 
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Sports Mole give us an update on the injury situation saying that Gabriel Jesus is “still a few weeks away from returning to the first-team fold.”   Mo Elneny is out for the rest of the season so has quite probably played his last game for Arsenal – although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him joining the coaching staff.

Both Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson are back in training but are said to be not yet ready to be named as subs.  Although Goal disagrees saying “Mikel Arteta will make a late decision on Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness”

SB Nation offer a lineup that includes Leandro Trossard

White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; 
Partey, Xhaka; 
Saka, Odegaard, Trossard 

while the Metro tell us that “Arsenal must keep Leandro Trossard on the bench, argues former Gunner Bacary Sagna”.  The reasoning is that “He will be a key solution to playing against Manchester City because their centre-backs are not the fastest. Arsenal need to use his speed and keep Leandro Trossard on the bench.”

In the end Goal go with the same line up as the Standard.

So it is down to Football.London to come along with a level of arrogance that is higher even than their normal output saying, “It’s vital that Mikel Arteta gets his team selection correct. The north London outfit haven’t won a game since that dramatic win over Manchester United last month and amongst some supporters, there have been one or two eyebrows raised in the direction of Gabriel Martinelli.

“Without a goal this year, the 21-year-old was underwhelming in the 1-1 draw against Brentford at the weekend and his replacement that afternoon in Leandro Trossard actually broke the deadlock and in doing so may have handed the Gunners manager somewhat of a team selection dilemma.

“Luckily,’s Arsenal writers Kaya Kaynak, Tom Canton and Tashan Deniran-Alleyne are on hand to offer their assistance to the Spanish tactician with regard to the big decision in attack.”

I don’t think I’ve seen something much sillier than that last paragraph since, well, since I last had a look at FoLo.  Anyway, after that they then get their three writers (two described as “Arsenal writer” and the third as “Chief Arsenal writer”) to give us their line-ups.  And these are….

Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Trossard, Nketiah.

Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Thomas, Odegaard, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

Now throwing “Thomas” into the third selection to make it looks as if something different is being written is a bit pesky, but I think they mean “Partey” throughout.  And in the end it is always either Martinelli or Leandro Trossard.

Trossard scored 25 goals in 116 games for Brighton – a 22% success rate.  Martinelli has scored 18 in 78 for Arsenal (a 23% success rate).  There’s not too much in that.

So all we can do is hope that things work out our way and that PGMO don’t have something special in mind, although as we noted earlier, PGMO have given us a referee with a strong anti-home-team bias, that will undoubtedly cause Arsenal a lot of difficulties.

It’s funny that the media don’t mention that.  But there again, it’s a funny old game.  The details, if you missed them before, are in Arsenal v Manchester City: the bias and the referee


28 Replies to “Arsenal v Manchester City: the team (according to the pundits)”

  1. The comments Guardiola made about Arsenal having to fight the title made me laugh…

    I mean, yeah Arsenal will have to fight for it as they do not have the endless pit of money to buy it.

    And the deadwood journalists make titles about it without even thinking how actual the comment is. Then again thinking ain’t what they are known for…..

  2. Nothing has changed for me. I want to see how the team play. How solid are we at the back, how together is the middle and how creative we are at the front? And…how much do the fight to win? The score will take care of itself and the PGMO will do what they do. I’m enjoying watching our team play.

  3. @GGG,

    I’m not in any stress. To me this is a test of who Arsenal are today, middle of the season, compared to the so-called best team in the world and best coach n the world.

    I doubt our young Gunners will be impressed and I believe they will relish the opportunity.

    I don’t even think this will be season defining, not with 17 games left and City not being the last team we play.

  4. Bad news. Thomas Partey is not available tonight due to muscle injury according to various reports. Not thought to be serious but apparently bad enough for him to miss tonights game.

  5. I commented on a thread yesterday that the squad has the talent to win the league. I have two concerns though. A minor one; do they have the ability? And a major one; will the effing PGMOL allow it to happen. As Tony has pointed out we get Manc locals for our matches with their teams and today, in a home match against Manc City we get an official who sees the away team win more often than the home team. I also cited the points already lost this season due to the referees and VAR ‘experts’.
    Given a fair shake, I like our chances today and for the season. Given the history of the last 20 years, I can’t see that happening. 50th match anyone? Leicester in ’16 when AFC did the double against them and Vardy had more PK’s scored than most teams had attempts? It’s a shame. An exciting young team with several British internationals. Saka, Ramsdale, White for England, Tierney for Scotland. A damn shame.

  6. Well,

    we sure ain’t being ridiculous. I find that in terms of flow, play, Arsenal have a nicer to look at game. But those DAMN mistakes…. in this sector Arsenal really need to get better. Maybe it is a ‘young’ thing.

    City are not showing a nice game. 3 yellows against them , zero against Arsenal, a penalty for Arsenal ?!?!?! is this the Twilight zone ? I mean….reading the comments these days who would have expected this ? I really believe we are seing a young team with no limits against an established older team who are having issues fighting these young Gunners.

    By the way, on german TV, the commentators are very ‘clear’ : who is the best team, the nicest game ? Arsenal. Was the penalty clear cut ? YES.

    Still 45 minutes to play. Asenal have the energy and drive to win, but these errors need to stop. A tie would be ok by me.

  7. The following is copied and pasted from the BBC Football website ( Any thoughts? I’m listening to the BBC radio commentary, so I have little idea what’s happening in the match because the commentary is as poor as usual!

    Posted at 20:1720:17
    Get Involved
    #bbcfootball or text 81111 (UK only – standard rates apply)

    SMS Message: Where was Ederson supposed to go? He’s gone to narrow the angle and they collide. He pulls back his arms to stop any foul. from Andy
    Where was Ederson supposed to go? He’s gone to narrow the angle and they collide. He pulls back his arms to stop any foul.

    SMS Message: Keeper just stands there and striker runs into him. That’s a joke. Let’s see if they are given for the rest of the season. from Mark
    Keeper just stands there and striker runs into him. That’s a joke. Let’s see if they are given for the rest of the season.

    SMS Message: Goalkeeper’s Union here, never a penalty. Keeper comes out, stands his ground and striker gets his shot away. Is the keeper supposed to move out of the way?! from Simon
    Goalkeeper’s Union here, never a penalty. Keeper comes out, stands his ground and striker gets his shot away. Is the keeper supposed to move out of the way?!

    Article Reactions
    Like1842 likes1,842Dislike1433 dislikes1,433

    Get Involved

    Beppe: Yet again, more inconsistency from referees. That type of collision occurs in every single game and I can’t ever recall seeing a penalty being given for it. The fact no Arsenal player claimed for it and everyone was confused speaks volumes.

    Rob Brown: What’s the goalie meant to do then? Evaporate? Of course there’s going to be contact. Ridiculously hilarious.

    Article Reactions
    Like723 likes723Dislike593 dislikes593

  8. @Tim

    From the Guardian feed

    41 min: Plenty of on-pitch debate. But Ederson is adjudged to have skittled Nketiah as the Arsenal striker went round him. VAR’s not going to get in the way of that decision!

    They are not discussing the issue. Then again the BBC is the BSC

  9. Interesting the commentators here on german TV : After what happened with the missed VAR call last week-end, VAR will take all the time necessary to make sure the decision is right.

    Yet VAR gave absolutely not a single look at Gabriel being mauled from behind ba Haaland….guess we can’t have it all.

    City are somehow starting to show nerves and showing their frustration more and more. Seems Mr Arteta did a good coaching job and the young Gunners are up to the challenge.

    Still this is a dangerous game and we’ve still got 30+ minutes to go

  10. In fairness we have made a lot of little mistakes to give away the ball in the last 15 minutes. Small margins punshed by the sovereign wealh fund citizens.

  11. @GGG,

    exactly what we are talking about here in front of the TV with friends. Details are costing us the game. Then, a young team needs to get these details learned abd then becomes a seasoned team.

    That said, I had not realised how City were tuggish and in the end have shown little in terms of spectacle. But they are efficient and making less mistakes.

  12. We gave away two goals by making mistakes. You can’t do this against City. You have to make no mistakes at the back and you have to finish the chances you get. We didn’t do any of those things today.

  13. So, on to the next game. However, as I viewed it, too many defensive and mid-field mistakes. Arsenal did not create too many chances. Those chances that were positive were badly finished. Where are full-back overlaps? Martinelli out on a limb because there is no overlap support for him! Too good a player to leave out on the limb.

    But, hey, what do I know. So far this season the team have been fantastic. Win the game in-hand and they are back in prime position. A young team who are clearly ready to supplant Manchester City in the future. Still much to play for. Nothing yet decided. Who would have thought Arsenal would be joint leaders of the Premier League at this stage of the season. As I said, ‘fantastic’.


  14. Think you sum it up Walter, this young team is not the finished version, and is still learning. Some bad mistakes were made and punished.City had to resort to some pretty base tactics that they know the PGMOL allow them at times as well.
    This team need to dust themselves down and quickly, been through a run where it seems every mistake they have made has been punished, then, there was Lee Mason.
    And worth remembering, City had a full strength team, we had two vital and experienced players missing, as well as ESR who at his best would be making a difference in some of these games.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t think we will win the league this season, and I don’t think this team will be allowed to win the league this season, not while a large portion of the PGMOL have Manchester or North West connections but still plenty to play for . And should City be guilty as charged, not easy to beat that

  15. Mandy and Walter have got this right. There was no influence on the game by the PGMOL , for much of the game we were toe to toe with them but we did create our own downfall. Stupid back passes when the ball into touch was a better alternative and two glaring missed headers were enough to split the difference..
    We are not far away from them but on the night their full strength team had the edge over our under development one .
    Arteta’s job now is to ensure that the result is not defining and that we get back the swagger that we had before this poor run.

  16. Sorry guys, I’ve only just got home and am still so angry I haven’t read previous comments. All I wanted to ask is how legitimate people thought it is that someone who clearly and deliberately elbows someone in the face, is allowed to continue the game to assist and score?

    I mean, Arsenal so often play games with a London based referee in control of the game, and often benefit from their players elbowing people in the face with no sanctions whatsoever, we should just accept this as normal.

    Yes, I was surprised we got the penalty but that lead us all into a false sense of security for ffs. Whilst I was always pretty sure, there is now absolutely no doubt that the Premier League is corrupt. What an utter disgrace.

  17. There are more Australian referees than London referees in the PL.

    Saka was being hacked from the kick-off. After Silva’s third foul on Saka, the referee spoke to Silva, and magically, other City players took up the baton, Allardyce-stylee.

    In the second half, I noticed Taylor having lots of “cupped-hand” conversations with City players. I wonder what was said. I think that alone would be a very good justification for miking-up the referees.

    Tomiyasu was booked for stealing ground at a throw-in.

    Grealish won another dodgy foul from a 50/50 shoulder charge by Saka. Luckily, it didn’t lead to anything.

    Our defending wasn’t the best tonight.

  18. @ Mikey “… someone who clearly and deliberately elbows someone in the face, is allowed to continue the game to assist and score?”.
    You are right, me thinks it is a streight RED! Any opinion Walter?
    But on top of that Haaland will be able to play next 3 matches and when one knows he is their best scorer … Arsenal is shafted by PGMOb multiple times over and over (:-( . COYG! Nekuhan

  19. I do admit that we showed our youthful indiscretions by being quite naive in defending . All those passes back really made me nervous . Fell better when we go forward .
    They were thuggish , and showed their experience in the darker arts !
    Still many games to go , so buck up lads . Play with a smile and get the crowds behind you again.

    Up the Gunners !

  20. Goonersince72, I am sorry your second post (here) was delayed. The reason was you added an extra letter to your name, and the computer system then treated you as a new poster, and so needing to go through moderation. But given the match was soon to start, we had no one monitoring the site through the evening. Sorry

  21. Having watched the game again, I’m even more incensed. How the hell can you penalise someone for dangerous play when they try and kick a ball that’s 18 inches off the ground purely because the defender is diving that low to head it? Meanwhile, as per my previous post, deliberately looking at a player and leading with the elbow to the head isn’t deemed to be worthy of a card? This game smacked of the football authorities doing Man City favours because of Guardiola’s rant how hard done by they are as a result of them being charged for financial doping.

    The majority of points we’ve dropped this season have been as a direct result of the deliberate actions of referees. Two of our three losses have been against the Manchester clubs when being reffed by someone from Manchester. It’s a joke. When the hell are AFC going to take legal action against this bunch of muppets?

  22. Even Chris Sutton on BBC radio made mention of rotational fouling of Saka, although he seemed to regard it as OK and an example of smart tactics. He did however express suprise that Silva wasn’t booked early in his series of fouls.

    From the commentary it sounded as if Taylor was going out of his way to make amends for awarding Arsenal a penalty. It was reported that the tussle between Gabriel and Haaland was 50-50 and had actually been initiated by the latter. Thus, even without the offside, ti should not have been a penalty or a yellow card.

    There was also mention of a possible penalty for a foul on Trossard, ignored by Taylor – although the commentators adopted the “not enough contact” reason for not awarding it.

    Let’s hope and believe that we can beat them at their ground. The overall opinion seems to be that Arsenal were as good / better than City and the critical difference was our mistakes and missed chances. Plus, they are better at time-wasting and conning referees (as if they needed to)

  23. Some great comments and observations with 2 main themes.

    1) we contributed to our own downfall with some errant defending and wayward finishing. A combination that’s never going to end well, especially against a team as ruthless as Man City.

    That being said, I still thought we were the better team. Okay, odd to say, but we crated at least as many ‘chances’ as them, but alas my boy Eddie was not on it today. Lets hope he gets his mojo back soon. We need him. We actually defended very well. Harlaand was in our pockets, until we gave him a chance. In my eyes, their ‘football’ didn’t earn them their opportunities, our mistakes gave them to them.

    2) The referee wasn’t diabolical. Our penalty could of gone either way. But even so the underlying bias crept in, not just from the ref but again VAR.

    Allowing Saka to be kicked off the park. Booking Tommy for what is a minor technical offence. Yes their keeper got booked for a technical offence but not on the first occasion or without first receiving a warning first and the Captain being spoken to! A dangerous free kick awarded for a shoulder to shoulder. Joke decision.

    But my major criticism is again for VAR. That elbow was nasty and so obviously deliberate. NOTHING. They would of been down to 10 men, but worse as has been pointed out, he would of been out for 3 matches. And the penalty appeal on Trossard, not even looked at as far as I recall.

    And finally as Mikey pointed out, how can you give a free kick for dangerous play, or a ‘high’ foot when the ball is 18 inches from the ground. Another joke.

    And regarding that, I always thought there was a rule about ‘dangerous heading’. I thought it was against the rules to put your head in a dangerous position, IE low to the ground amongst boots.

    As I understood it, the thinking behind this was 2 fold.

    a) You should not be putting your head in danger. For obvious reasons.

    b) Putting your head down amongst the boots could give you an unfair advantage. The reasoning behind this was because it is human nature to NOT kick a fellow human being in the head! Meaning, the opponent will likely cede possession on the basis of not wanting to decapitate an opponent. Possibly not even by design but by instinct?? Never the less, as I understood it, it was seen as an illegal advantage gained.

    Maybe my dodgy old memory deceives me? Maybe it’s an archaic rule long since gone? I don’t know, but I’d be grateful if a referee out their could put me out of my misery. Was it/wasn’t it? Is it/isn’t it, a rule?

  24. Tony,
    Thanks for the explanation. If only the Arsenal defenders had your attention to detail v. MC, lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *