There is never an ideal time for any team to play Manchester City, whether home or away, but here we are.
Good day one and all…
It’s going to be the battle of the Spanish managers this afternoon as Unai Emery take his Arsenal side to the Etihad to take on compatriot Pep Guardiola’s Mancity. It was another of their countrymen though that outwitted the latter using vintage Rafa-ball midweek.
Before their unexpected 2-1 defeat to Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle the Citizens has been on a rampage, scoring 33 goals to just two in an eight-game winning streak. Following the SJP lack of inspiration Pep will demand a very strong reaction, so we can expect them to fight tooth and nail to not only put that disappointment behind them but to also reduce Liverpool’s lead in the log standings.
Arsenal have a different agenda though as we just want to ensure we stay in the fight for a 4th spot which is up for grabs between ourselves, Chelsea and Manutd – at this point still very much in our own hands.
Games against Mancity haven’t been easy for us in recent history and being down to the bare bones at defense was certainly the last thing needed in preparation for this trip. Mancity have scored 11 goals to one in the last four matches between these two sides, we also lost seven times in our last 11 visits there.
Given that record what Arsenal probably need to do is play from the back and hope to break on the counter but Emery said he will take Mancity on at their own game. To be honest I like it. Pep is not going to let that type of complacency at SJP happen at the Etihad and will pick an ultra-attacking lineup. so we might as well just go for it than to allow them to relentlessly build attacking wave after wave without getting a look in.
Going that route is going to be one enormous task but for the last six weeks all we as fans asked for, begged for, is for the team to get out of their shell and display the type of bravery that saw us going on that amazing unbeaten streak, and if that is something Emery want to go back to I think we should applaud it.
Attacking teams’ defense rarely get tested and if we can get both Aubameyang and Lacazette to run at them who knows, we may just win our first away game against a top-six side following a 20 winless streak.
With almost two thirds of the season done and dusted, it’s time that we put the foot on the accelerator. A must-win for both sides which could either be a thrilling contest or quite a long afternoon for us… but because I respect bravery I will definitely be rooting for the former.