ManchesterCity v Arsenal
4th v 1st
The Home View:
They seem to be our mirror image in some respects. Check this out;
Unsure of best GK, although it probably will not be Hart. Pantilimon has kept 3 clean sheets at home in their last three starts.
Had trouble in getting a settled back four, but their likely set up will be;
Zabaleta, Kompany, Demicheles, and Kolarov.
However, in midfield they have the return of Silva for Navas?, Fernandinho, Toure, and a choice of Nasri, who was rested, or playing Milner who had a good midweek. More defensive with Milner, more creative with Silva?
Their strike force is the best in the Premiership;
Aguero, Negredo … and have Dzeko waiting in the wings.
Of those who played midweek. The back four bar Kompany, all played, although Zabaleta from the 16th minute( for those wishing Richards on us in the TW?). In midfield and strikers, Toure was suspended, Silva played 73 mins, after returning from injury, when Negredo took over. Aguero and Nasri missed out, although the former was on the bench.
Unlike Arsene Wenger, allegedly, I do think it focuses the mind of players and fans alike to see where the opposition are strong, as well as their weaknesses. Without doubt their strength is in attack, which luckily for us, our defence, or defending, has been one of our strong points. So if we can nullify their best bits, we need an attack that punishes their weaker defence?
So I predict our line up will be as follows:
Bench; Fab, Verm, Monreal, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski,
However, Gibbs could be replaced by Monreal if Silva returns, and Navas drops out. If Sagna is fit then Jenks may drop out altogether?
So if it is a battle of the midfields, how do we fare?
Flamini will have to organise it well to keep out Toure and Silva from controlling things deep, and I can see Nasri having fun against Jenkinson, as he has been in great form recently. So it will require both Wilshere and Walcott doing a fair bit of tracking back, given that Kolarov likes to get forward a lot too? Likewise on the other side, Navas will keep Gibbs busy, as Per and Kos will have their hands full with Negredo and Aguero, but his pace will be essential if he is pressing forwards, and so keeping Zabaleta back.
Let us not kid ourselves; this is going to be a tough game to win for the above reasons … The reasons to be fearful?
The reasons to be cheerful are in what we have going forwards. If they are all pumped up on some of HT’s expresso, because a fast start is essential. We can worry about fatigue late on, and it tends to be less if you are winning? The good thing here is, we know we are up against a strong side, particularly at their home ground, so they should be keyed up for it. And with Rosicky, Cazorla and Podolski we will have a strong bench to provide fresh legs when it starts getting tough.
Quick movement and pace with Walcott from the start will be key. I would love to see Rosicky in there too, but I think we may have to save him for the last 30 minutes, and a start against Chelsea.
Ozil is going to have to dance around Fernandinho while Wilshere can drag Toure all across the pitch, but importantly, keep him pressed back. But where we should do well is with Giro getting one on one with Demichelis, while Ramsey can get Kompany making late tackles. I think we must be due a game where we play against 10 men? All of this sub play should see Walcott being able to cut inside and leave Kolarov cursing.
I do not see much point of us going there thinking our defence is strong enough to cope with their attack for long periods. Whatever happens, we will be ToTL, so let us go for it without fear. This game is only half time remember. We should recover any dropped points on our patch, so the important thing is to try and impose our game on them. They cannot do much without the ball, so make them work hard to get it. We can afford to put all our effort into this game because we have a tidy 9 day break before we play the Chavs, so get out there with all gun(ner)s blazing.
We are The Arsenal!
Written by: Gerry.