36 Comments

It’s City, Here’s Hoping.

Good morning all.

This afternoon at 4.30 P.M. we welcome the rampant Manchester City to an empty Emirates, a daunting task is ever there was one, While City have notched up 15 wins on the spin, we have lurched between wining and losing, being awful to decent while they sit clearly on top of the pile as we are stuck in dead centre mid table. All logic and statistics point to a City win, and yet? We still have hope. This hope may be based on nothing more than wishful thinking, but without hope, why bother?

City have no injuries to speak of, but I doubt Pep will risk his current star man, Gundogan to start. Aguero and De Bruyne either, so although they may all be technically fit, we should be spared the sight of them at kick off, then again, that will make their bench even more scary.

So to us, Partey wont feature but everyone else of note is available. I’m not even going to attempt to guess who will be picked beyond Xhaka, Leno and Bellerin. Any line up and set up is possible because I think Arteta will have to try something different to what we have seen recently, I don’t imagine we will be even attempting to out play them.

I normally look forward to watching City, but not today, I’ve put a kettle and a box of biscuits behind my sofa ,where I’ll be hiding for 2 hours. But as I said, we still have hope.

36 comments on “It’s City, Here’s Hoping.

  1. A very accurate preview: there were some mighty games against City since they won the Lottery, but not so much since Guardiola took over. They’ve gone up a couple of levels, and we’ve matched them in the other direction. I’ve just seen 5 great goals against City put out by the social media team: Ljungberg, Wilshere, Alexis, Walcott and Arteta, but maybe an even better one was the FA Cup Semi-final team effort finished off by Aubamayang. Even knowing how that team goal ended its almost impossible not to watch the early stages without severe palpitiatons. Think City will be in a very different mood today, but we’ve got a chance (if everyone plays at their best and things go our way) to get something from the game.

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  2. Yes Tim, if we play really well and get the rub of the green, And they produce the opposite, we have a chance.

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  3. Yes football is a funny ole game and it’s one of the rare sports that the best team quite often doesn’t win.
    You can’t park the bus and counter attack in most sports and and having a good keeper midfielder and striker can change a teams fortunes dramatically.
    City are wonderful, everything we used to be you cannot have enjoyed Wengerball and not enjoy this stuff unless you’re kidding yourself.
    However on our day we are good and even in the bad games, as in Thursday night, there are flashes of great interplay so of course we can win COYG.

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  4. It’s Incredible to me how many fans out there are still debating Xhaka’s value as a CM in this league when there are players like Jorginho who clearly are not on his level and not rated as highly in the sport by his peers and coaches.
    Xhaka has sticky feet, he’s not my favourite CM that I’ve watched by a long long way but saying he is not good enough for the Arsenal is demented.
    It reminds me of people who argued that Andy Cole was not at the same level as Romario or Henry. Who cares? He was good! I suppose the blaggers do need the hits. Throw the plebs a bone, give them something to talk about and roll in the pennies!

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  5. We may be lucky and they will be so complacent, that we can nick a goal or 2 and they can’t break us down.

    It is possible and has happened before,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Behind the sofa huhh. My favorite place too. But who knows… if we kill our chances, then why not.
    But yes City is awesome.
    COYG

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  7. The run of better form coincided with a fresh Xhaka pulling the strings in midfield after his three match rest.
    He now needs a breather along with Saka today not much doubt about that. Arteta has not been rotating well. The Gunners are not going to catch Everton or West Ham this season and the reason why Arteta is coated with Teflon for this failure the complete opposite to AW is very easy to explain so I will spell it out: Edu & Josh have a very different relationship to the super agents to what AW had. That is the reason for the variance in media coverage for this season’s failure compared to the gaslighting accusations of failure earlier on in the decade.
    Arsenal fans have been gaslighting themselves with the aid of click baiting blaggers. That is some fucked up shit right there.

    7th it is at best IMO. COYG.

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  8. Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Tierney, Holding, Mari, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe, Aubameyang

    Subs: Ryan, Gabriel, Lacazette, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Willian, Cedric, Luiz, Ceballos

    City: Ederson, Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Gundogan, Sterling

    Subs: Steffen, Laporte, Walker, Mendy, Ferran Torres, Aguero, Foden, Jesus, Rodri

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  9. a team designed to hold city and play them on the break and we are behind after just 2 minutes, a Sterling header, yeah he out jumped out CB’s

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  10. HT: Arsenal 0-1 Man City

    Sterling gave City the lead after 2 minutes, poor defending from us. They could have scored another one or two, we got into the game from about the midway point, but not really created anything.

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  11. we can’t get out of our own half in the second half

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  12. about 20 minutes left and we have managed one shot on target so far in this game,

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  13. Pepe and Odegaard off, Lacazette and Smith-Rowe on

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  14. David Luiz on for Rob Holding, as a concussion sub

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  15. FT: Arsenal 0-1 Man City

    Sterling gave them the lead in the second minute, we never looked like scoring today

    our team selection, and performance got exactly what we deserved, our 11th EPL defeat of the season, a meek performance

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  16. Our 2nd 1 0 defeat when the goal against was in the first couple of minutes.

    I believe that we had a player called Pepe on the pitch. Did anyone see him?

    1 shot on target and one corner.

    The master tactician strikes again.

    We have now lost more games than we have won.

    For my part, I was impressed with Saka, Mari, Holding and El-Neny. The rest, especially the front players may very well not have turned up for all the good they did.

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  17. Auba was useless today. Sure he didn’t get many chances but whenever he did get the ball it seemed to just bounce off him.

    Saka was very good. Pepe needs to do a lot more. Holding can be Ronaldinho sometimes. Mari was quite good. Xhaka did well too. Looks like he needs a break though. I don’t think Elneny did much wrong. Maybe an under hit pass out 2.

    Tierney was okay. Gave us some sort of attack down the left. We had nothing down the right.

    Odegaard needed to do a little more I thought. Overall we did good defensively. But the attack was too slow with misplaced passes either slowing us down or breaking the attack all together.

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  18. Arteta on the game

    “Conceding early puts them where they want to be. After that we did really well and created some great opportunities.

    The final quality you need to score goals, we were missing today.”

    anyone have a fucking clue what these “great opportunities” Arteta is talking about, what fucking game was he watching

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  19. Some fans are criticising Bellerin for Pepe’s game. Missed the match but with Pepe having had decent games from the left of late I’d like to have seen Saka right and Pepe left of the centre and that minor call was Arteta’s call. I don’t claim the Gunners would’ve won the contest with that minor change, not a complaint.
    It is a shame both Xhaka and Saka played the full 90. Given other results in the league i believe it’s the europa or bust & the Benfica match is everything now.

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  20. its not the losing that annoys me, after all city are the best team in the country, its meekly accepting defeat that pisses me off, and its not just in this defeat, this is the 11th EPL defeat for us so far this season, and the one abiding feeling I have gotten from nearly all of them is that we just take it, what ever the game plan Arteta has set out for that game, is stuck to rigidly right to the end, nothing different is tried, there is no Wenger like charge of the light brigade, or his put on all the attacking players and see what happens, not even throw a CB up front and lump it, no its stick with the football choreographed by Arteta, stay with the paint by numbers football.

    Arteta just seems to have the mind set that its never anything to do with his choreographed football, its just that the players are not doing it well enough. And this might be actually true, but why does he expect a sub or two with 20 minutes to go, trying to do the same exact plays that we have tried all game long, to suddenly work, I ask how often has it worked for us so far. I seen a stat a few weeks ago along the lines that we under Arteta are one of the worst side in the league at coming from behind in games, our wins very rarely come after we fall behind.

    the two games before ours today had exactly the results we would have hoped for, as it meant that a win over city would see us leapfrog not only Aston Villa, but actually put us above Spurs for probably the first time this season, were we above them at any point last season. So one would hope that we would go hell for leather for the win, but no, it very much looked like the team was selected with the hope we would limit City, with a lot of luck get a win, with a bit of luck get a draw, and if nothing else not lose heavily, and so the soundbite that under Arteta we no longer lose heavily to the other big clubs, its feeds into the other big soundbite, trust the process, or as the silly bloggers say, its progress, when the reality its not, its the mindset of losers.
    I’ve said it before, but far too often, to me it seems Arteta is trying to make Arsenal David Moyes Everton, not Pep’s City, or Wenger’s Arsenal, not even Graham’s Arsenal.

    31 goals after 25 games, 10 wins, 11 defeats, if I’m not mistaken we are currently 3pts better off than we were at this stage last season, a season that seen us sack Emery, have Ljunberg as temporary manager, and then appoint Arteta, also after 25 games we had only failed to score in 4 of them, while this season its 10 games, of our 11 league defeats we have failed to score in 7 of them, and we have had 3 nil nil draws. but we remain rigid in attack. yeah its great that we now concede less goals, but as our results are showing, letting in less goals is useless if the cost is not scoring goals

    we have 13 games to go this season, if we are to match last season’s goals for in the EPL we will have to score 25 goals in our remaining games, considering we have scored 31 so far, can anyone see it happening. We are very unlikely to let in the amount of goals we did last season, as it would mean letting in 22 more, when we have only let in 26 so far, it seems we are heading for something like a goal a game conceded or very little above that. As I say that would be great if we were using that base to get many more wins, but we are not.
    To match Arsene Wenger’s unacceptable last season at Arsenal we will have to take 29pts from the remaining 39pts, we currently have 34pts from 25 games. We have 10 wins, and 4 draws, so we need 9 wins and 2 draws from the last 13 games, just the 2 defeats. by the way to match the goals scored in that season we would have to score 43 more goals, I don’t think there is any way we will let in the 25 goals that would be required to match the awful 51 goals conceded that season. We ended that season with a plus 23 goal difference, so even to match that goal difference we will have to score 18 more goals than we let in our remaining games.

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  21. fins not only are people blaming Bellerin for Pepe’s performance, they are blaming him for the city goal too, seems it was nothing to do with Tierney not stopping the cross, or Holding not even jumping for the cross or him losing Sterling, no its all anti AFTV player Bellerin.
    I also see the hate for Xhaka has not abated either, some twitterati and bloggers will not stop till they have seen both these guys leave the club.

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  22. Man City need a maximum of 10 wins from their final 13 games to win the title

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  23. Arteta – The reason why I was so vocal
    Chris Harris 21 Feb 2021
    Mikel Arteta

    Mikel Arteta found himself in a familiar position when he faced the media via Zoom on Sunday.

    Once again our manager was satisfied with much of our performance. But once again he was left frustrated by small details that ultimately cost us points.

    Arteta was asked about the perils of facing this Manchester City side, his vocal encouragement from the touchline, Rob Holding’s head injury and the fixture congestion we currently face.

    Read on for a full transcript of the press conference:

    on whether he felt we did enough to get back into the game…
    I do have that feeling but the reality is that when you play against the best team in Europe at the moment and you give them something, you’re going to make the game so difficult for yourself. To start the game the way we did, giving them the goal and the way that we did it, you have to be exceptional the rest of the game and you have to nail it in every single department and we didn’t do it. We had really good moments and we had moments where we really matched them up and and we made it tough for them. But the reality is that when we broke them and we got into the open spaces to attack them and get into some really good situations – which is really difficult to do against them – we lacked the final pass and the quality there to score.

    on whether he was worried that it could be a long afternoon after the early goal…
    That was my worry because with the formation and the players that were used today, there is nothing worse than going behind so early because it puts the game exactly where they want it, with time on the ball, creating overloads with the false nine anywhere that they want on the pitch and we could become impatient and frustrated. I saw that we reacted really well to that and we gave them a real game. But at the moment they are the best team because they dominate in every single department and credit to them because they’re an incredible team.

    on facing high lines against Benfica and Manchester City and how we can expose that on Thursday…
    Well, I think we did it and we got into some great positions but after that we have to finish the actions better than what we did today. We created some big openings against Benfica as well. Against these types of opponents you have to be so good when you get the chances because you’re not going to get that many.

    on why he was so vocal on the sideline…
    Because every movement, every detail, every position is key. The moment we don’t get it, like we didn’t in the first minutes, they’re going to exploit it straightaway and they’re going to make you look like a poor team. Probably I do it too much, I don’t know, but I think it’s very necessary for them that I give them guidance because I can see from the outside what they are going to do and when you are there at 100mph you lose a second or two and with them that’s a huge amount of time.

    on whether he worries that he overloads his team with information…
    No. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s just conversations that we have all the time with them about what we do and if there’s a moment where I feel that’s the case then I will stop it.

    on how important this period is in terms of pressure…
    With the schedule that we have, it is really demanding. We have no time to recover and little time to prepare again. Against City for example, we could not prepare for the game on the field because we didn’t have enough time. But we have to get used to it and we have an extra day now for Thursday’s game, then we have to go to Leicester. But the players, you know how they are trying, they want to be the best that they can and prepare in the best possible way for every single match and that’s what they are doing.

    on Rob Holding’s substitution and the use of the concussion sub rule…
    Well, obviously that’s a call that has to be given by the doctor and that’s the communication we got from him, so we decided to make the concussion sub.

    on whether he thinks Rob was concussed…
    Yes. That’s what they told me at the time. Obviously he will miss a few days now, I think.

    on the difficulty of managing the squad’s fitness…
    Well, it’s hard because everyone wants to play and everyone wants to be available for every game, so if anything, I feel sorry for the players that they cannot play or are not playing more. But everybody is doing their best all the time to be available, which I really value a lot. But it’s true that there’s players with lots of minutes and we don’t have the players to replace them, unfortunately.

    on whether he will need to make a number of changes against Benfica…
    I don’t know if it will be five, four or seven. We will have to see how they react from today’s performance. It was a really tough game physically for both because it was full gas from the beginning and we will see who will be available and fit to be there. Obviously we need a fresh team and we need legs as well because then the decision making and everything becomes better when they are fresh. We will see who’s available.

    on whether winning the Europa League is more important than ever before for us…
    It’s really important, but obviously every defeat now in the league puts us in a much more difficult position. We have to take it game by game and we need a run of games. I think we have a big run of performances, but we’ve lost three games now in different ways and it’s not what we want obviously.

    on playing well but having nothing to show for it…
    Yes, but we have to keep an open mind. I cannot take us to the other side which is playing worse and expecting more. I’m a big believer that the better we play and assert ourselves in the game, we will get more points, but this is very tricky. Our job is as much as possible to propose games where we deserve to win. Whether or not you get that result sometimes is difficult to control, but I think the team has made more than what we have.

    on having one shot on target…
    For me, the biggest issue was that when we found some big openings against them which is really difficult to do with their organisation, I think we did that many times today, but the final pass and final product wasn’t good enough, so obviously you’re not going to hit the target. But the attacking threat you create is not only with the shots you create, but also the situations you’re able to create. That leads to results.

    Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

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  24. Arteta on why he was so vocal on the sideline…
    Because every movement, every detail, every position is key. The moment we don’t get it, like we didn’t in the first minutes, they’re going to exploit it straightaway and they’re going to make you look like a poor team. Probably I do it too much, I don’t know, but I think it’s very necessary for them that I give them guidance because I can see from the outside what they are going to do and when you are there at 100mph you lose a second or two and with them that’s a huge amount of time

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  25. Disappointing but not surprising, in the league, we have had an appalling record against City in recent years. They are light years ahead in terms of squad quality, funding, ( outside FFP whatever the UEFA findings) owners aims, and they have the best coach in the world, we have a first jobber.
    Our problems are more constant defeats to the likes of Wolves, Leicester and Villa than losing to City.
    We have owners who thought they could ride the Wenger top four wave. When they got rid of Wenger, the owners were exposed as not having the faintest clue, pretty much , by their own admission. Read an article by Mad Jens this week saying things are worse than wengers final year, in his opinion, whatever that means, and that there seems to be nobody really in charge of the club. Vinai…do me a favour….Of course Jens may have his own reasons Or agenda for saying that, but hard to argue ,with some of the things we have seen.
    We are where we are for very good reasons. It will take a very special manager, and / or very special players plus quite a lot of time to change that, I certainly dont expect anything special coming from upstairs at this club. Arteta will probably get another year or so to turn things around, but if he fails, what will they do then?

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  26. just seen that our lowest ever pts total in an EPL season is 51, we currently have 34, so we need 18 pts from our remaining 13 games to surpass it, 6 wins, surely we will easily get that

    remaining EPL games

    Leicester City – away

    Burnley – away

    Spurs – home

    West Ham – away

    Liverpool – home

    Sheffield Utd – away

    Fulham – home

    Everton – home

    Newcastle – away

    West Brom – home

    Chelsea – away

    Crystal Palace – away

    Brighton – home

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  27. We should get some wins from those games, Enough to get to a meagre 51 points….surely, but many are Trad “ English “ style teams , ripe for PGMOL intervention.
    Whatever happens, this will go down as an insufferably poor season on the recent history of this club.
    I hope the owners now realise owning a club in this league is not as easy as just letting Wenger do everything while the value rockets. And I hope these realisations are a chastening experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Mandy
    I suspect the owners were thrilled with the excuse to spend £72 on Pepe and another £30m on a player who doesn’t even play as opposed to peanuts for a Cazorla, or not resigning numerous top talents once at the club now gone (10th in the league).

    Arry Redknapp’s Range Rover has turned (racing) green in envy.

    Hopefully Benfica aren’t as good as Olympiakos?

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  29. Just scanning through a list of Great US Sporting custodians and owners, the kind of people that inspired Dein

    – There’s Rooney of the famous Rooney Rule. From the Pittsburg Steelers
    – The gambling chemist who bought the LA Lakers & turned them into the club we know today.
    – the fans owned Green Bay Packers club
    etc.

    And there are the Kronke’s. They are not on that list. Their biggest achievement in sport to date apart from buying the then successful Arsenal was to start work on a giant stadium construction project just as people everywhere in the US are banned from going to stadiums.

    it truly is remarkable how these orifices that spent so long attacking the club and the best coach that any of them will ever see are so very gentle towards Joshy Bwoy for this continuous degradation. A cynical mind would assume they are obviously aligned with the current owners, and a less cynical mind would simply conclude that they don’t know very much about the Football.

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  30. Interesting the blame for the goal going to Hector. Normally there are many players that could do better for any goal, in this instance a slow lifted cross landing in the six yard box I would always expect my keeper to come for. That’s what long arms and big hands are for.

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  31. From the highlights Leno fortunately had a good game but as Ian easily observes he was just as much at fault as any defenders on the goal.

    The on field decision that really impressed me from Arteta last season with the commitment to a counter attacking game against better teams in the semi final and final last season was the brave call to drop Saka and replace him with Niles at LB specifically to negate The City right sided attack in that semi final.
    Did Arteta bring a rusty Tierney back for the wrong game? Given the first five to twenty minutes of the match is that an easy question to answer? Was the call forced by fitness requirements, Kieran not ready last week and Cedric now in need of a rest? Unlikely with Arteta’s record. Was it important to give Tierney 90 minutes or smarter to rest him and have his first start back in the crucial Benfica game? To be fair that’s a tricky call to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Ian- can’t imagine what you made of Auba’s game yesterday?!

    Do feel a bit sorry for him as it is simply not his game to compete with big centre backs from long balls nor, really, playing with back to goal at all. Although that sympathy doesn’t stop me doing my share of cursing at times.

    I find it almost inexplicable he either can’t read long balls in the air to get in the right position or simply won’t jump and fight with the centre back. Then you see balls pumped from the other end and Sterling or Jesus get into a position where the centre back can’t win it and hold them off!?

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  33. Must come down to specialisation- some players are so strong in certain things that it can get them to a certain level, even a very high level, without needing to develop real ability in some other part of their game.

    Not a huge problem (and to a degree suppose it’s true of every player) when the going is good, or the game isn’t asking for those skills, but I feel our team does ask that, often, of a centre forward- both back to goal link play and giving us the option of going long, to relieve pressure and to ensure we aren’t completely predictable playing out from deep. Oh, and serious heading ability from crosses would be useful, too

    Used to often think I’d like to mash two or three of our forwards together to make a complete player, or ,more like, ‘Giroud, but with speed’. Much the same now with Laca and Auba for me.

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  34. Orbinho
    @Orbinho
    1983-84 was the last time Arsenal had lost 11 games in 25 match days.

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  35. As expected it was a one sided affair.Though we showed resliance in defense but our attack was tootless with just 1 shot om target. We can argue we lost by only 1 goal as we let them score 3 in previous 2/3 years.
    Is it an improvement? It has to be seen.But for me sitting 10thor 11th whatever we are destined to finish at 50 points +_ .An all time low in Arsenal history.
    Will the Wenger out fans accept they are the chief culprits along with Pigmob and agenda driven media for this sorry state of affairs at the club.

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