Manchester City 3 – 0 Arsenal, What happens next?

Manchester City 3 – 0 Arsenal Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge 90 pen. The game itself was a weird game of “we can beat you” versus “you can beat us” and although we played well in patches, you felt we were mentally beaten before we got there. It was a very reserve back line and actually, the whole team line up looked thin. The line up was:

Almunia Hoyte – Djourou – Silvestre – Clichy Nasri – Denilson – Song – Diaby Bendtner – Van Persie Taking away the fact we’re going through a little wobble at the moment, with 7 first teamers out, any of the top teams would have done well to come out of city with a point. Stephen Ireland clipped in City’s first goal after Clichy sliced a clearance horribly into his path, and it was soon two when Robinho chipped Manuel Almunia. The once Arsenal target Robinho had a shot cleared off the line before young striker, Daniel Sturridge scored a penalty. It’s hard to write this with any note of positiveness… so let’s take a listen to good old Arsene Wenger:

“We had a good focus and I believe it is a flattering victory for Manchester City today. We conceded in stoppage time [at the end of the first-half] and before that they had not created much. We were quite in control but after the goal the game turned and they played on the counter-attack. We played into their hands. We lacked the maturity to deal with being in a dominant situation and not getting caught; it was a free-kick to us, then a goal for them. After that the third goal was a soft penalty.”
And on moving forward from here, he said:
“I think we had enough focus and gave everything. It is not always negative and we have to take the positives and keep the belief. In a big club you have to go through these periods, and how we deal with it will shape our future.”
I really don’t know how he’s going to deal with it because it does seem a mess. Before the game, no one was really sure what the extent of the William Gallas affair was but today we heard that Peter Hill Wood would back Arsene over any decision he makes in regard to Gallas. He said:
“This issue has shown that Arsene can be ruthless. He has to be otherwise people can run all over you. As for whether Gallas has a future at the club, that will be up to Arsene. But I think Gallas has got a problem. Arsene will advise the board over that and we will support him no matter what. We will all be at The Emirates on Tuesday [for the Champions League fixture with Dynamo Kiev] and I am sure the matter will be discussed with Arsene. And 100 per cent we will endorse what he decides about Gallas.”
But in surprise news today, new reports are now suggesting that Gallas will be back for the game against Dynamo Kiev. I’m not sure how you can have a player back in the squad after the recent outburst, let’s see what happens next. Apologies for the “flat” article today. I’m a little deflated after this weekend, as I’m sure you all are.   Man City:Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Vassell (Elano 73), Robinho (Hamann 82), Mwaruwari (Sturridge 88). Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Evans, Ben-Haim. Goals:Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge 90 pen. Arsenal:Almunia, Hoyte (Ramsey 60), Djourou, Silvestre, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong, Diaby (Vela 69), Van Persie, Bendtner. Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, Simpson]]>

  • Debs

    yeah, we all are! You can tell by the lack of comments. I’d like us to win against Chelsea on sunday, but I’ll also be disappointed if we win, as it will seem as we only care about the games against others in the big 4. But yeah, Dynamo Kiev on thursday is really crucial. i don’t really mind if Gallas is back on tuesday as he’s our best defender (although I thought Djourou did quite well on saturday) as long as he’s not captain. But then, what are the odds he’d give 100% if he’s not captain? i guess we’ll find out on tuesday. Not really holding my breath as to the result, I just want to see whether we’ve weathered the storm and see how well we come back. But an emphatic win would be welcome, though I think it might take a little while for confidence to be at an all time high, but yeah, I trust the lads know what to do…

  • Fabrez!

    I’ve been flat a while myself. Let’s just hope for 2 gr8 results this week. With Gallas…i don’t kno if having him back is good bcuz i feel as if this rift between him and players is a long lasting one. Team spirit and confidence is low and we need to make quick and intelligent decisions with this Gallas situation. As respects Bendtner…he needs 2 go back to reserve football…give a couple youngsters a chance in midfield 4 now (Ramsey, Vela on the wing). Let’s see what happens by Jan then buy APPROPRIATELY plz Wenger. In the meantime, let’s get behind the Arsenal!

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Debs is good to be hopeful. But b/w u and me I dont trust this team anymore. Am not saying Wenger should go because I know what he can do. What am saying is that the board should remind him that he is under their pay roll and is questionable to some decisions and not to worship him like a god ( I heard what Harewood said) its such a shame that a club this big(thanks to Wenger though) cant reason with Wenger as regards to the fans. After all Fergie was questioned when he was a bit lost adrift some 3 years ago. Wenger......... till Tuesday.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I understand what you mean, pissed off. The thing is, with Arsenal, we're a protective club, so sometimes when stuff is said, one needs to take it with a pinch of salt. The board have come out to say they're 100% behind Wenger, but I'm sure that behind closed doors, they've laid down the law to him. So also, the team performance. Wenger always 'praises' them in interviews- you hardly ever hear him criticise anyone, but I'm sure in the dressing room, he'd be brutally honest with them. I guess it's a good thing, this protectiveness, but it frustrates the hell out of me most of the times, and I'm sure I'm not the only fan who feels that way! But yeah, till Tuesday.]]>

  • Maurice

    II’m flat. ts the lacklustre football that we are playing that has me worried. Arsenal looks ordinary and we are exposed this season and other teams know it. Its like the opposition has at last found the solution to Arsenal and the moment its hard to believe that we wount lose several more ‘simple’ games before things improve. I seriously want to believe but I dont see us ending the season in the top four. Not if we keep playing as we are.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[nothing to lose now. time to play the carling cup team in the league and champs league. and let the first team play carling cup. the kids have shown more desire as it is. nobody's bigger than the club. if the first team has confidence issues or form issues then its time theyr dropped from the first team. no point taking unnecessary risks. its not as if they kids are weaklings. wilshere, ramsey, vela - theyr all strong enough to stay on their feet against shoulder challenges or light pushes. they'v got that 'brit grit', if u know what i mean.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Deflated is the word. Very bored and fed up of talking about it. The result was half expected though, and i think its part of the teams turnaround. The fall from grace is curving now that Gallas has been stripped ( i think ) and things will probably reach the lowest point at Christmas. Leaving us all full of cheer for our familys to enjoy. BUT, January is when things can begin to heal, and we will slowly begin to rise again for the remainder of the season, probably trophyless again, but maby not. So expect a month of depression, anything will be a bonus. Hope we can scrape through the cup competitions, and January we can throw out the bad meat. With a bit of luck, Wenger has woken up and smelt the need for a couple of signings.]]>

  • I believe

    < ![CDATA[Fabregas for captain - in my mind there is no other choice. One or two players added would be nice and those two I agree with - a centre back and a ready-to-go defensive midfielder. Possibly also a winger as Walcott is out for a while and Eboue still does not inspire confidence in me… Wenger has been playing two creative midfielders in Cesc and Denilson together and Song is not up to scratch in that position. Diaby may be ok there but I see him as more of an attacking mid as well. Gallas has to go - get out of the club I mean. We need a replacement in the form of a player who can attack balls in the box. We are fine for strikers though some may disagree because Bendtner is not yet up to scratch. I agree he has been awful lately, but with the correct selection ie. Vela, then we wouldn’t struggle so much. Please go back to a standard 4-4-2 please Wenger as no one is thriving in the hole in a 4-5-1 this season apart from one game; I think it was Fenerbache, where Diaby and Ade picked them apart. As for the team itself - I do still believe in them and I do not like seeing people come here saying “I told you so, Arsenal can’t/won’t win a trophy this season”. I’ve read a lot of that not directed specifically at me, but it’s simply not true. You don’t know we won’t win anything and if there is a perspective you should listen to it is one of optimism. Don’t write your own team off just yet Arsenal supporters. You are Arsenal supporters afterall…]]>

  • Courage

    < ![CDATA[The pieces are there. Fabregas, as short of form as he has been, will find his feet again. As Fabregas goes, so goes Arsenal. Robin van Persie, as selfish and arrogant a player as he is, is a goal and assist waiting to happen. He is the unpredictable breed of player that every title-winning team requires. Seventy-five percent of the defence is there, all that is needed is to find the correct long-term partner for Djourou, the heir-apparent to Sol Campbell's as-yet unreplaced role. In Adebayor, you have a world-class target man who opens up space for players like Nasri, Ramsey, Denilson, Walcott, and soon, Wilshere, to exploit. Throw in the promise of Vela, Gibbs, Randall, Simpson, Bendtner, and the numerous other young prospects, and a vast majority of a high-octane, up-tempo passing team is there. All that Arsenal lack is an adequate defensive midfielder to truly free Cesc and let him find his form, and the right leader for this team. Wenger's next title-winning team will be born out of the ashes of the current calamity. He will find his true leaders and add or drop whenever he seems fit. After taking the big decision to drop Gallas, he will now have the bit between his teeth to re-hash a splintered squad. And when this current period of apparent crisis is over, however long it may be, there will be a new Arsenal team. For Wenger, the time to make the drastic decisions has become now, and he knows that. Whenever Wenger sorts out his house, then a new team will be born......Maybe next season then.]]>

  • Sam

    < ![CDATA[Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was certainly one of the more cringeworthy games I’ve had the displeasure of witnessing in my eleven years as an Arsenal supporter. Mistakes in defence, toothless attacking and a severe lack of communication and teamwork were on display for all to see. The result and performance clearly showed that this Arsenal team are struggling to fulfill the potential their performances promised last season. In the first half our players were swimming up-stream a little bit but I thought they were doing so admirably. We defended reasonably well and worked hard despite a distinct lack of skill and composure when in possession. I thought that if the boys could just get to half-time at 0-0 they would take heart from their efforts and go on to win the match. Alas, is was not to be as Stephen Ireland capitalised on a mix-up between Gael Clichy and Mikael Silvestre to fire City to the half-time lead they deserved. From that point on our young side was never in it as City ruthlessly exploited our lack of leadership, depth and confidence; the three weaknesses that have hindered Arsenal’s progress in the first third of this season. It is an understatement to say that it is imperative that the weaknesses in our side – a lack of leadership, depth and confidence – are addressed by the manager as soon as possible. The first by naming an appropriate new captain, the second by making a signing or two in January and the third by ensuring that a new captain and new players have a galvanising effect on the squad. Although I have been strong defender of William Gallas over the past two seasons I want to make it clear that I absolutely agree with Arsene Wenger’s decision to strip the French defender of the captaincy and leave him out of the team against City. Gallas’ comments were unacceptable and he deserved to be punished the way he was. The big decision that the manager has to make now is to name an appropriate successor. For me there are two possible choices and Wenger faces a tough decision to pick between them. The first is the man who captained the side against City, Manuel Almunia. The second is Cesc Fabregas. The older Spaniard is a decidedly easier option than the younger one, but my opinion is that if the manager wants to see an immediate change in his squad’s mentality and togetherness then he needs to bite the bullet, take a risk and give the armband to Fabregas. He might only be 21 but the signs are there that Fabregas already looks more of a captain than Gallas or even Thierry Henry ever was. He is the squad’s best player, a fierce competitor and much closer in age to the majority of first-team players at the club. His appointment would have an immediate positive effect on the players Wenger is pinning his hopes for trophies on, players like Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri. Fabregas’ appointment would be a positive choice by Wenger and a clear admission that the manager is prepared to turn over a new leaf and contemplate his approach to his side. Fabregas’ appointment will not solve the problem of the squad’s lack of depth, however. The only way that Wenger can rectify that problem is by bringing in new players when the transfer window re-opens in January. And while I’m sure there are some of you that would like to have five or six players shipped out and replaced with big-name signings I honestly feel the manager needs to bring in just one or two players to boost the quality of the squad sufficiently enough to challenge for the title. Put simply, the manager needs to bring in an aggressive and defensive-minded central midfielder to play alongside Fabregas in the middle of the park as well as an experienced central-defender to replace Gallas if he leaves in January (or perhaps even if he doesn’t). Up front I think we’re fine, out wide I think we’re fine and although he cops a lot of criticism, I’m more than happy to keep Almunia in goals if he continues to play as consistently as he has over the past two seasons. Defensively we’ve been a shambles this year. Wenger has played something like nine different centre-back pairings this season involving Gallas, Toure, Djourou, Silvestre, Senderos and Song, which is really quite ridiculous. My opinion is that the squad needs to have four quality centre-backs to function correctly and I believe we have that if Gallas can deal with his demotion appropriately and get back to what he does best, defending. That may be easier said than done though and I wouldn’t be against the manager looking towards someone like Christoph Metzelder from Real Madrid or Naldo from Werder Bremen to provide quality, experienced cover for Toure, Silvestre and Djourou. Selection-wise I really feel that the manager needs to pursue with Djourou for the rest of the season. He’s been Arsenal’s most consistent centre-back in the early part of the campaign and deserves to become first-choice purely based on merit. Although defence is a concern the purchase of a ready-to-go defensive midfielder needs to be the manager’s top priority come January. Denilson is not a defensive-midfielder, Song is not really performing at the moment while the manager seems to be frustratingly allergic to playing Abou Diaby in a more defensive role. The lack of a reliable, hard-working and aggressive defensive-minded midfielder is hurting Cesc Fabregas and it needs to be rectified. A Claude Makelele-type player is not the answer, a Mathieu Flamini-type player is and if no-one fitting that description is bought during January then I honestly feel we’re going to have a hard job finishing fourth. It has been argued that bringing in new players would hinder the progress of those already at the manager’s disposal and to a certain extent, I agree. But the problem comes when the players just aren’t performing. How long can Wenger wait for players like Denilson and Song to develop? Wouldn’t it be better for him to have a quiet word with them to let them know that their performances have not quite been good enough but make it clear that the door is open for them to be recalled when they improve? I think it would. Until new players can be brought in there are a few changes that the manager could make to improve the results and performances of his side. The big one is handing Fabregas the captain’s armband while the others revolve around particular team selections. I’ve mentioned previously that players should be picked on merit and as often is realistically possible, only in their best positions. At the very minute that means playing Djourou at the back, playing Song or Diaby ahead of Denilson in the middle and Vela ahead of Bendtner up front. In saying that I don’t think Denilson or Bendtner are bad players, just that there are better options available to the manager at the moment and they don’t really deserve to maintain their place in the side. It might be harsh, but it’s best for the team and the club. I’m not going to shirk around the fact that this is not a fun time to be an Arsenal supporter. Nobody likes to watch their side lose or perform the way ours has at times this season, especially given the promise they showed as a unit last time campaign. But step back for a moment and realise that there are plenty of clubs’ supporters who feel this way the majority of the time and you can appreciate the privileged position we have been in for so long as Arsenal fans. It might be worth me saying here that despite the difficult period the club is going through I remain optimistic and positive about the future of the club. Despite his flaws we have an experienced, intelligent and loyal manager at the helm who undoubtedly deserves the chance to sort out the problems that he currently faces. Furthermore we have a group of players that – with a change in leadership and one or two additions – have the quality to challenge for the Premiership and Champions League titles in the near future. Let’s hope they can sort out their issues and get the ball moving forward once again. Just before I go I want to fire a quick reminder message to everyone who comments on this blog. Let me make it clear that I’m extremely proud of community that has formed on the Arsenal FC Blog. The comments that are left are consistently well thought-out and the respect shown by all is to be admired. But as with most sports blogs, people have a tendency to act impulsively and forget their manners when things aren’t going particularly well for their side. I know that everyone will have their opinion about what should or shouldn’t be done at Arsenal but I just want to encourage you all to treat each other with respect during this less-than-enjoyable time. After all, just because someone has a different view than you doesn’t mean you should criticise them for it.]]>


    < ![CDATA[You know the one thing that stands out is our forwards to me - the defence has always been shakey - but our forward line has declined massively. We had maybe five chances against United and we took two. Against Fernebache we took more than half. Against Villa we had maybe 4/5 chances again, and failed to convert all of them - same at City. Van Persie has not looked the same this season as before his injury. Hopefully some confidence and a better strike partner would complete his game. Bendtner has turned in some shocking matches and as I said before - that champs league defeat to Liverpool when he blocked our potential winner on the line is looking to be the rule rather than the exception. Ade has been a bag of bollocks - I wasn't a fan last year, and this year he's slipped markedly. He's a great player, but he's frightfully inconsistant. He's like a taller more talented Robbie Keane. So I guess what I'm trying to say is - the game on Saturday was anybodies game until they scored the first goal. We watched the extended highlights on Sky, but it was also picked up on MOTD. Both sides were shit, but both sides had chances - if we had Robinhio we would have won. Simple. He was the difference pretty much. Obviously after the goal they grew massively in confidence and went on to dominate the game - but it could have so easily been us condemming Mark Hughes to the sack if we had someone capable up front of turning the game on its head. Say what you will about Gallas but at times early on in the season he saved us - away in Russia for example - and so far has been the only player to grab the games we're slipping in by the neck. This is where we are missing Henry. He used to do the same - for all the sulking and posturing, he'd win a game single handedly 9/10 with that moment of brilliance. Do any of our current forwards inspire that feeling at the moment? Vela is a cracking looking player - but he often drops far too deep for me. He should be on the shoulder of the last defender all game for me - he has the pace and Fabregas/RVP have the vision to deliver that ball. Edaurdo can't come back soon enough for me - lets hope he has the hunger and desire to make a blistering restart. Putting Gallas aside (he's off isn't he clearly - he's opened his gob, just like at Chelsea which means he want's away), and the issue of the captaincy (I think I vote Fabregas - I hope it gives him that desire and belief back that he's been lacking so far this season) Arsenal need to look forwards in more way than one. When you're scoring, you're believing - if we had a Henry or we'd scored 10 in our last three, a Man City goal would have made a challenge. As it stands, it just crushed us.]]>

  • raymond

    < ![CDATA[We Gooners spend fortunes following Arsenal and while I agree that we have to take the rough with the smooth that performance today was unacceptable. William Gallas has taken some severe stick but he is right, these players have no arsehole for a fight. The worst thing is we didn't even need to fight today! Manchester City didn't even try to batter us, they simply outplayed us and at times it looked like a training session to them. This Arsenal squad has a huge amount of talent and the future looks bright, the present however looks worryingly uncertain. Some of the players are not ready and need to be guided. But who is there to guide them? Arsene Wenger must now realise the squad is letting him down badly. It's time to act. If we don't get the cheque book out in January the season is in real danger of collapsing. We don't need a clear out as some are suggesting, we need to add to this squad. Only then can we begin to salvage our season. We have gone from title contenders to a battle for fourth place. It's not ideal but I hope in a strange way that us struggling will force Arsene Wenger into entering the transfer market.]]>

  • Richiebacardi

    < ![CDATA[Do you think AW needs to bite the bullet and send an SOS out to Henry and Viera? Get them back? I know people will say they're past it but just the psychological effect their presence will have on the players and fans alike is just what we need...I think]]>


    < ![CDATA[No fucking way! I'd love to see Henry back at Arsenal - in five years as a coach. Arsenal don't need another player to stand in the opponents half with his hands on his hips - Ade and Bendtner do enough of that. As for Viera - he's slower than Gilberto over 100yds now. Both lights have faded - as I said above we need to look forwards not backwards. Stop lamenting whats gone, make some changes and build some consistancy. Obviously above I knew Stephen Ireland scored the first, I made a hash up - Robhinio still deserved MOTM.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Fabregas named as captain: Fanstastic for the boy, I think he'll be great. He's young but you can't doubt his experience having got to the Champions league final and won the European Chmapionship. He always makes the right comments in the media too and he has a great attitude. Can't wait for tomorrow night now. Hopefully Gallas will show some class and take it well.]]>

  • raymond


  • Fabrez!

    Well Arsene has said it! Fabregas is captain! Let’s support him and hope it boosts his performances rather than weigh him down! Go Arsenal! Congrats Cesc!!!

  • English Premiership Football

    I feel for you as a neutral and pure football fan. Thing is, Arsene Wenger is a really stubborn manager and it’s starting to cost you. I love him so don’t get angry, I just think it’s time you guys spend some money and buy some real proven stars, players who can change a match in an instant. Torres, Deco, Ronaldo, Lampard, Robinho, Gerrard, starts with real talent and can pull out a game winner at any moment. You do have a couple players like that in Fabregas, Gallas, Adebayor, but you need more. Ask yourself if any of you players would walk straight into a United or Chelsea squad. As soon as you can say “any of them” is when you will have a chance to win the premier league again.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I know, I don't think i have watch match of the day since our win against Man U...I can't bring myself to watch it. I don't think Gallas ever wanted to play for Arsenal to be honest and i think was given the captains armband too integrate him and make him feel wanted and thus play well...too be fair it worked for the most part. But i feel the time has come now to let him go and buy someone who actually wants to play for us not just part of a swap deal.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I think it's the right decision, Fabregas as captain. It wasn't going to work with Almunia, him being stuck in goal and the fact that when he's off his line, every Bentley in this world will try to put one past him! As for Clichy, he was my personal choice, but I think it would be too much pressure on him, seeing as he's been our best player this season so far and he's started making mistakes. The less focus on Clichy and he seems to be unbelievably amazing. Fabregas as captain will more than likely shut up those who've been creating rumours that he may be leaving in Jan or summer. He may end up doing so (I hope not), but at least for now all the speculation will stop. Also, he's not been playing well so far this season, and I feel that now he's captain, he'll step up his game. I think he's the type of player who can handle the spotlight on him, and he's press conferences about the team, performance, and chances are exactly the type you'd expect from a captain, unlike Gallas. I wich I was going to be at the Emirates 2moro to see how Gallas responds to his demotion! It should be funny! But yeah, tomorrow's the beginning of a new era (it sort of feels like when the new sp*rs era started with Redknapp, although I shouldn't compare us to those 'scum' lol). But yeah, I'm excited about the rest of the season now! Woo hoo! Let's start with a fab win 2moro!]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Its on TV Debs so you can still see Gallas be even stroppier than normal! I don't think he should be in the team so soon, i really don't. His head can't be in the right place at the moment. Good luck to Fab, i really hope this can galvanise his season.]]>

  • Debs

    yeah, he doesn’t deserve to be in the team so soon but we don’t have a choice, really. He’s arguably our best CB, and saturday’s ‘heavy’ defeat proves that, which is why Wenger has him back in the squad…

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Lets not get too over excited. Gallas made some poorly judged comments and probably doesn't have the best attitude for a captain. But he's been solid for us and has scored important goals at important times and he's part of our best XI without doubt. I hope he gets a good welcome tomorrow night because its important the transistion is smooth and if he goes that means we're stuck with Silvestre until we sign a replacement (if we ever do).]]>


    < ![CDATA[Steve - bang on - I'm not a fan of his attitude but there is no getting past the fact that he's our best centre back by a country mile. And he has the capacity to dig deep when it suits him - he's scored some very important goals in the dying minutes of matches. My hope here is he'll not have the platform to mouth off anymore and he also tries to prove his worth again. For too long he was treading water knowing he'd not get dropped. Now he has to fight for his place.]]>

  • Debs

    As Kieran rightly said, Gallas will now have to fight for his place. I wonder what Wenger can do in order for Adebayor too to realise that he’s not always going to play when he’s not injured. He’s a bit too comfortable! (although I think he’s a player that can make a difference at times, when he wants to, like Gallas!)