Arsenal vs Man City: It’s A Very Important Game Tomorrow….

Tomorrow is the biggest game of the season… I know I keep on saying that, but the old games are gone and this next game is so important. In terms of the table, it’s 2nd (Man City) versus 3rd (us!), and a win will see us go ahead of them on points and a game in hand. It’s very important for a few reasons:

  1. Keep up the heat against United
  2. Get into 2nd place
  3. Send out a message to Man City

Theo Walcott,  like the rest of the team, is really up for the game against City and I’m pretty sure they understand it’s importance…

“Our target is to beat them especially with home support behind us. We played well against Chelsea. Now we have a couple of days to relax. We don’t want to think about it on our days off. We have had a busy few days. Everyone is looking forward to the game when it comes but at the same time everyone is looking forward to a little relax.”

There will be a lot of questions around the team selection, with Van Persie playing against Birmingham last Saturday, will he be able to start against Man City? With Chamakh being completely rested, will he now be drafted back into the squad. It must be a difficult decision for Arsene at the moment. I think he believes Chamakh is the third best striker in terms of ability, behind Van Persie and Bendtner – but in terms of contribution to the team, and goals and effort this season, Chamakh tops it all off, especially with 10 goals this season.

I am pretty sure Maroune wasn’t brought in as first choice striker, but he elevated himself to that position due to injuries and form to others. Now, with Van Persie back in the frame, and fit, he will most likely become number 2. But with only 1 striker in the team, where does that leave Bendtner? Rumours are that Bayern Munich are very interested and have even contacted us about the possible transfer. I really doubt that we would sell Niklas Bendtner – he does represent a lot of what project youth is about, but if the price were right – £15m – 20m, would we sell? Would Bayern offer us that much. I think Arsene has always like Nikki B – he has shown in flashes how good he can be – flashes of brilliance, but never consistent; plagued by injury, yes, but from what Arsene says, Nikki B could be the best striker in the world… But he won’t start tomorrow…

My predicted line up is:

Fabianski

Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

Personally, I think both Walcott and Chamakh will start on the bench. With Leeds and Ipswich following the Man City game – I think Arsene will risk playing both Djourou and Van Persie, knowing that both Chamakh and Bendtner will and can come in in the two “less important” games afterwards. Walcott I believe will need a rest, and Arshavin won’t stand for being on the bench for too much longer. Against Leeds, it will be important to have players like Bendtner, Chamakh and a game winner such as Walcott.

Back to tomorrow’s game… and some match facts from ESPN:

  • Since 1975, the Gunners have not lost the fixture at home, winning 18 of 25 matches.
  • However City is not the same side it was before it was purchased by Sheikh Mansour in 2008.
  • It’s won three of six meetings since the sale, after losing five of its previous six beforehand.
  • Arsenal is the highest scoring team in the Premier League with 42 goals.
  • Since going goalless against Manchester United on Dec. 13, the Gunners have found the back of the net eight times in three matches.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Manchester City has been the stingiest team this season with only 16 goals allowed.
  • No EPL opponent has scored more than one goal against City since October.
  • Though it may be difficult to predict if this will be a high-scoring match, we can look to past meetings between the two sides: Of their 11 matches since 2006, eight of them have been decided by a margin of 2 goals or more.

Exciting facts, which basically mean it will be 2-0 or 3-1 to us – if all goes well.

Arsene has an excitement about the current side, especially after the last two wins.

“You can see we have the belief in our game now. That is what will make the title race really interesting. It takes a kind of bravery to get the ball down and play. That is always the most important thing and why I was most pleased on Saturday. After the Chelsea game the team was on a high because we got that burden out of the way. We were quickly down again because we dropped two points against Wigan – but I am pleased we were quickly back up again. This team could see the positive effect of the Chelsea win. It was there for all to see on Saturday.”

I hope the team have the belief as if we can beat Man City, we can quickly turn this league into a two-team race rather than a 5 team race… Tomorrow morning, I am sure we will have more team news and more indication of what Arsene has in mind…

Til then, my friends…

  • yemi

    When we win this game, and stoke draw man u, we will go top. I am not aiming for 2nd, i am aiming for the top. Man u will draw stoke so all i need is a win

  • yemi

    beat city black and blue, 4:0, watch out !!!

  • http://www.yahoo.com lutufyo

    beat man city 2-0.

  • http://www.yahoo.com lutufyo

    hope van persie will start and mourine after but i thin we need theo on the pitch in order to reduce the attacking speed.

  • vj

    Expected City lineup,

    Hart (better than Lukasz)

    Boeteng Kompany Lescott Kolarov

    We have better wing backs especially with the form clichy is in but Kompany and Lescott combined are better than Djourou and Koscielny

    Toure De Jong Barry

    Hard to compare Toure and De jong are very good, expect some hard tackles into cesc, Wilshere may struggle so Wenger might play Denilson I think.

    Johnson Tevez Silva

    Again pretty equal Nasri is in the form of his life, Robin also getting there, Arshavin has looked good in the last 2 games, Wenger may still go with Theo and attack their left side with Kolarov, either way it should be good. It will be intereting ti see how Djourou and Losielny handle the pace of Tevez and Silva.

    Overall high scoring game hope we edge out. If Robin turns up along with Andrey we will dominate

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    How can you be so confident that Stoke will draw against United – the game is at Old Trafford – you have to think that United will be super favourites!

  • devday

    @ vj:
    I think your line up makes sense. Although, where is former Gunner Kolo Toure?? Isn’t he first choice along side Kompany (I noticed he was captain a few days ago)…

    It’ll be interesting tomorrow – but technically we should surpass City – I think it’s down to desire and focus!

  • yemi

    @ devday:
    A hunch

    Someone said “Uniteds luck will soon run out”, And fergie is already playing his ming games to soften stoke by backing pulis against wenger. It ain’t gonna work !!

    Watch and see……… Trust in the Lord

  • yemi

    city will play as they did against man u, They will not want to come all out so expect a boring game with 70% arsenal possession, after the first 2 goals city would look to score and the game will open up. Hit them for 2 on the counter and its 4:0 to the arsenal !!!!!

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    I’ll remind you of that later!!!

  • melvyn

    Diffrence in Arsenals game is simple. They are pressing higher up the pitch. The wing players are helping the right and left full backs man mark players. In our last match you could see three players soround a player when he gets the ball. Walcot said le boss said they should mark from the front. It puts less pressure on the defence. It also helps the defensive mid fileder (song) to scoop loose balls. i hope we continue…… United are 5 points clear we can not afford to loose.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Man City have agreed a fee for Edin Dzeko of £30m. At least we wont have him to deal with as well as Tevez. Silva and Balotelli are both doubts for tomorrow so that is some relief.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    oh have you heard the Djourou song:

    Chim chimney,
    Chim chimney,
    Chim Chim che-roo,
    who needs scum Gallas
    we we’ve got Djourou

  • Gooner Get Ya

    *when we’ve got Djourou

  • vj

    @ devday:
    Touré would play but he’s injured, Lescott has played last 3

  • yemi

    @ devday:
    I’ll remind u later too

  • Bonathan

    I think it will be a real struggle for us tomorrow. i think city will make it hard for us to score and we must be careful we don’t over-commit. We really need that first goal, then it’d really be game on. For me, walcott has to start this one after the roasting kolarov got last week. It’s a no brainer and i’l be disappointed if he doesn’t. Of course, they may go for boateng LB and zabaleta/Richards RB, in which case i’d probably go with nasri and arsharvin.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    balotelli silva and toure apparently injured. we beat these 3-0 at their ground before we had even beat chelsea and picked up massive confidance, and yes i know they only had ten men but we still got the result. this time we have the home advantage, a great squad brimming with confidence, and are up against a man city side who have got a few injuries to key players. we need to take advantage of this and see them of tomorow night

  • Kodjo

    Mancini is no fool, i expect him to play Boateng and Zabaleta/Richards as full backs to match Walcott’s speed and pretty much sit deep on that side of their defense.

    And i agree with Josiah…if that is the case then arshavin amd nasri should start…but would prefer nasri on the Richards side since he will be given the license to attack Clichy.

    The other thing to watch out for is Yaya’s advanced position as he is licensed to attack through the middle….Song and Wilshere have to mop up.

  • devday

    @Kodjo
    I think you’re right – Arsene even hinted that he thought Man City would stay back and try and hit us on the counter. Definitely think we’ll see a fiery Arshavin tomorrow with something to prove after missing out on Chelsea and Birmigham!

  • devday

    @Josiah

    I’m very glad that Silva and Balotelli are injured as have been quite impressed with them recently.

    Think Tevez, Milner and Johnson are decent backups, hopefully we can keep them quiet!

  • vj

    @ devday:
    I agree with you dev, the benfit walcott brings though apart from his attacking pace, defensively he covers really well, since he is used to RM instead of RW with England, he comes back a lot more Andrey or Nasri, He is quite useful when our back line is just sitting back and there is that pocket of space on the wings where wing backs run through or put crosses in from. I expect Richards to play ahead of Zabeleta and Kolarov. Can’t wait for the game. Come on u gunners!

  • melvyn

    How many bust-ups has Roberto Mancini had to deal with in his time at Manchester City? I stopped counting at 3421.

    It seems every week that the Italian has to deal with yet another spat between his players. To me it appears there are too many big time charlies at Eastlands with massive egos.

    Emmanuel Adebayor probably has the biggest opinion on himself on this planet. I’m sure this is a humongous reason why Arsene Wenger snatched up the £25m for him offered by City.

    The Togolese man has to decide whether he wants to box his team-mates or play football with them. I see today he has had another tear-up, this time with another former Gunner Kolo Toure.

    Now Kolo is a very mild-mannered player and peaceful person. We saw that in all his years with us, so for him to decide that he wants to be Rocky for 5 minutes says a lot about the tension up at Manchester.

    It’s not in Kolo’s nature to act this way, especially towards a team-mate, so I blame Adebayor. The man is a pure liability, despite having ability, and having someone like him in the squad is bound to cause serious grief.

    Looking at the amount of arguments and bare-knuckle fighting going on at Manchester City tells me that things aren’t all rosy behind the scenes at the club. Despite this they sit third in the table and I think Mancini is doing a good job there.

    People say it’s good to have feisty players and that a little bit of fighting between players is better than having a group of softies but I don’t 100% agree with that. Of course you want winners but surely its better to have a bunch of players who get on?

    You sense that with the Arsenal players. Arsene Wenger has had this squad together for a while now and its clear that they all get on. There is plenty of harmony within the Arsenal ranks, something that clearly isn’t there at City.

    That’s why I think Mancini is going a good job keeping Manchester City in the title race. It must be hard trying to keep on top of several egotistic footballers desperate to be the number one player at the club.

    Its easy to say that the players are professionals and a few disagreements shouldn’t affect performances on the pitch but in the end I think it will tell. I can honestly see Manchester City self-destructing this season.

    At the moment they are challenging for honours so these minor boxing matches can be overlooked but there could be a moment things take a turn for the worst and I can vision a Royal Rumble at the City of Manchester that not even Hulk Hogan could referee.

    If the City squad actually began to like each other like Arsenal’s do then the rest of the Premiership would probably be in serious trouble. You can say all you want about them spending more money than Elton John does on flowers, in my opinion they have the most talented squad in the league.

    Luckily for the rest of us they don’t seem to like each other much so a melt-down of extra-large proportions is most likely to be round the corner. We of course can take advantage of that, especially tomorrow at the Emirates. Maybe that is where the spectacular fall-out begins.

  • Fo

    Amazing to see Kolo and Ade have a massive brawl – I wonder what it was about. With Dzeko finally moving to Man City – Ade could be on his way.

    WOULD YOU TAKE HIM BACK for £10m?

    @ melvyn:
    p.s. did you write that or did you get that from somewhere else?

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    @ Fo:
    Kolo and Ade were fighting over who would get Eboue’s shirt tonight.

  • vj

    Dzeko is a great signing but I don’t know what formation city can play, Mancini needs to sort his squad out and kick out players like Shay Given, Bridge, Michael Johnson, Shaun Wright Phillips, Adebayor, Jo, Santa Cruz to name a few, there are lots of others, but these are the one’s who can play consistently elsewhere and who are just no playing at City. Then Mancini can settle on a formation and build a team.

  • Fo

    @ kierandelaney.net:
    They’ve only come to see Eboue!!!
    Although neither are playing tonight!

  • Fo

    @ vj:
    Shh! Don’t tell Mancini that – the randomness of their squad and in-fighting is good for us!

  • vj

    This is from Cesc’s Twitter page,
    “Don‘t be scared if tomorrow you see a new player in the squad……” Does he mean Ryo Miyaichi??? Is he gonna play?? Kinda excited, maybe a new CB!!!!!

  • Jeffo

    What a disgrace, city having spent all that cash and they turn up and do fuck all! Why did they even bother to travel with strikers?? What a bunch of tossers and Mancini still manages to harange Cesc and the ref at the final whistle, piss off back up north you wanker.

  • Sam

    ManU was the great winner tonight. All their rival lost points. Just like many other seasons.