Yaya Sanogo is a not a name that many will be familiar...
Arsenal v Manchester City; Premier League Match Preview
Since the Abu Dhabi Group has taken control of Manchester City they have tangled with Arsenal 9 times. In those 9 times Arsenal have 3W 3L 3D. And while the league Champion’s have the financial clout to over power almost any team on the planet, there has been very little evidence of the gulf between the teams in terms of playing ability.
The match is an important one or both teams. For City if they should lose and United win earlier in the day, it will put them 10 points behind the league leaders. For Arsenal a loss could put them further in danger of not making the top 4. Currently sittingin 7th with a game in hand, they need the win to keep the gap close.
Manchester City are an engima to watch this season. They are capable of resounding thumping’s of oposition, great and small but then they come out and play a style more reminiscent of the days prior to the gluttony of wealthy they currently have. They are perplexing at best and in my opinion barring a tremendous slip up by United are already out of the title run.
Arsenal, well we sadly have never been in the title run. Our focus has been to stay competitive as we adjust to new economic realities – or so we’re told. We like tomorrow’s visitors are a quagmire of WHAT THE F**K. On days like the last match between City and Arsenal we look absolutely sublime and fluid and on others like Bradford, Swansea, or Southampton look like complete and utter crap. We are the makers of our own fate and more so because the talent is there in such a poor season as this for all teams.
And that’s why this match is totally in Arsenal’s hands. Not lacking any major players due to injury, Arsenal have the talent to play like they did on the road at the Etihad. Given the predicament for City, I suspect they will look for an open game. This as we all know can suit Arsenal if they go with speed, hunger and drive from the start. City’s defense aren’t nimble of foot. Kompany is their rock but he has shown that he can get pulled out and spun around with speed. Nastasic isn’t as strong but he has good movement. Runs off the ball from Arsenal from the middle of the pitch to the box are going to be essential to get the best of the CBs.
Joe Hart has looked average this season. It’s going to be imperative of Arsenal to get shots on goal. You have to test Joe. he is still one of the best Goal Keepers out there and if Arsenal make it easy for him he will soak up all the pressure you give him. Additionally, Gael Clichy while still slick going forward has shown this season that he is reverting to his former Arsenal-self with mistakes galore. I particularly like the match up of Chamberlain versus the Frenchman.
The real test obviously comes at the back. Both teams have statistically been good defensively. But as they say there lies, damned lies, and statistics. Both teams are prone to defensive woes, the win goes to the team that can lock those woes down for the match. None of Arsenal’s CBs should hold their head up proud as it has been primarily from the CB position that stupid personal mistakes have hurt Arsenal the most – Koscielny v Chelsea, Vermaelen v United just to name two.
City are likely to go with Tevez behind Dzeko with Tevez playing slightly deeper then normal without Yaya Toure in the lineup. Though, and it’s reflected below in the lineup infographic – something in suspects Mancini will give Bad Boy Mario a chance to start. The point is in either combination they have players that can tear apart a defense. I pray silently that with a full 7 days between matches Steve Bould has been given some additional lisense to work with the lads about sound defenseive principles?
Again, we are the makers of our success or failures this season. If we don’t come at this game with a sound denfesive plan and hunger and drive going forward we are going to find it a very painful afternoon. With as I mentioned 7 days off, there is very little room for the “tired” excuses. Nor are injuries a major concern. Add in the additional factor of City missing key players in Agüero and Yaya Y Touré (oh and Nasri too) the table is set for Arsenal.
Arsenal go into the fixture with a 52% win rate over City covering a total of 162 matches (85W 38D 39). That span also includes City not winning away to Arsenal since 1975. Of course its a new era. City have a plethora of riches and are the league Champions. Arsenal are in a different boat altogether. And while they’ve maintained competitive parity head to head with City the fortunes of the clubs are markedly different lately. But none of that matters for 90 minutes on the pitch. All that remains to be seen is which team shows up for the match.
How the match should play out:
With so much at stake for both teams it’s hard to see anything but a a shootout. City cannot afford to let Arsenal walk away with a win. However, with a lack of the primary players they be still be cautious yet, less so than recent years. The replacements that will come in for City’s missing starters are likely to be more defensive than the regulars. But City can’t afford to go 10 points behind United. Arsenal. I have no idea. They absolutely have to come out firing an using their speed at the start. The pensive, thoughtful, almost prodding manner they’ve shown at points this season will not suffice against a team like City. At home – Arsenal will go for it with Gusto (I hope).
Players to Watch:
Arsenal: Theo Walcott. All signs point to the contract being closed to finaliztion and Theo staying with the Gunners. He has been dynamic this season and while the team doesn’t have too many issues scoring. With his speed he can give Vincent Kompany some issues.
Manchester City: David Silva. This season hasn’t been one of renown for the Spanaird but he is starting to show signs that he is finding his form with some level of consistency. Amazingly this is the first time Silva will have played at the Emirates since joining City.
City attack vs Arsenal Defense. Do I really need to explain why?
Injuries and Suspensions:
Arsenal: Fabianski (back), Gervinho (international duty)
Manchester City: Agüero (hamstring), Y Touré (international duty), K Touré (international duty), Razak (international duty), Nasri (suspended), Maicon (knee), Richards (knee), Rodwell (hamstring)
Arsenal: Walcott 8
Manchester City: Dzeko 9
Arsenal: Podolski 6, Walcott 6
Manchest City: Tevez 5, Silva 5
Last Meeting (EPL):
Manchester City: 1
Arsenal (home): 2.8
Manchester City (away): 1.4
Arsenal (home): 1.4
Manchester City: (away): 1.2
Manchester City: WWLWW
Manchester City: 22
Referee: Mike Dean (Matches 14, R1 Y49)
US: ESPNDeportes/ESPN3 11:00 AM EST
UK: SkySports 1 16.00 GMT
Manchester City: 2