Arsenal v Man City Preview and Ideal Formation and Lineup

Arsenal v Manchester City  –  October 17, 2020

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The club City was founded in 1880, 139 years ago as St. Mark’s (West Gorton). And on 16 April 1894, 124 years ago, it became Manchester City.

They won their first major honour with the FA Cup in 1904. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, but were relegated the following season, despite scoring more goals than any other team in the division.

Inspired by a tactical system known as the Revie Plan they reached consecutive FA Cup finals in 1955 and 1956. They lost in 1955 to Newcastle United but they won the second, the 1956 final, in which they beat Birmingham City 3–1. It is one of the most famous finals of all-time, and is remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann continuing to play on after unknowingly breaking his neck.

They had a period of success in the late 1960s, winning the League, FA Cup and League Cup under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football.

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Pep Guardiola, former manager of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is the current manager, who has been in charge since the dismissal of Pellegrini in 2016. Under Guardiola, Manchester City won the 2017–18 Premier League title with the highest points total in Premier League history and broke numerous other club and English league records along the way. They also won the EFL Cup that year and Sergio Agüero became the club’s all time leading goalscorer.

Guardiola then guided the club in 2018–19 to retain their Premier League and EFL Cup titles; the first time in Manchester City’s history that the club had completed any successful title defence. The team then went on to also win the FA Cup and so complete an unprecedented treble of English domestic men’s titles. In 2020, UEFA banned the club from European competition for two seasons for alleged breaches of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations; the club appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who overturned the ban within months, finding that some allegations were above the five-years-old limit for such UEFA investigations, while the other allegations were unproven. However, CAS fined the club 10 million euros for failing to produce significant amounts of evidence to UEFA in an obstruction of the investigation.

In reviewing the history of their excursions through the various divisions of English football it became apparent that in order to detail them I would need to write a book – instead I created a spreadsheet (surprise, surprise).

Man City League History
1892–1899 Division 2
1899–1902 Division 1
1902–1903 Division 2
1903–1909 Division 1
1909–1910 Division 2
1910–1926 Division 1
1926–1928 Division 2
1928–1938 Division 1
1938–1947 Division 2
1947–1950 Division 1
1950–1951 Division 2
1951–1963 Division 1
1963–1966 Division 2
1966–1983 Division 1
1983–1985 Division 2
1985–1987 Division 1
1987–1989 Division 2
1989–1992 Division 1
1992–1996 Premier
1996–1998 Division 1
1998–1999 Division 2
1999–2000 Division 1
2000–2001 Premier
2001–2002 Division 1
2002– Premier

Manchester City Club Honours


Division 1 Winners (2): 1936–37, 1967–68

Premier League Winners (4) 2011–12, 2013–14, 2017–18, 2018–19


FA Cup

Winners (6): 1903–04, 1933–34, 1955–56, 1968–69, 2010–11, 2018–19

Football League Cup / EFL Cup

Winners (7): 1969–70, 1975–76, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20

FA Charity Shield / FA Community Shield

Winners (6): 1937, 1968, 1972, 2012, 2018, 2019


European / UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup

Winners (1): 1969–70


League and EFL Cup (2): 2013–14, 2017–18

EFL Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1969–70


Domestic Treble (League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup) (1): 2018–19

Our Premier league record is deceiving as even though we hold the superior record away to Manchester City we have not beaten them since Januray 18th, 2015. and have been outscored 13 to 5 since our last win.

Arsenal v Man C  EPL Away Results
116-Jan-931  10
215-Jan-94 1 00
312-Dec-941  21
410-Sep-951  10
511-Apr-011  40
622-Feb-031  51
731-Aug-031  21
825-Sep-041  10
904-May-061  31
1026-Aug-06  101
1102-Feb-081  31
1222-Nov-08  103
1312-Sep-09  124
1424-Oct-101  30
1518-Dec-11  101
1623-Sep-12 1 11
1714-Dec-13  136
1818-Jan-151  20
1908-May-16 1 22
2018-Dec-16  112
2105-Nov-17  113
2203-Feb-19  113
2317-Jun-20  103
Arsenal v Man C  – All Away Results
 Division 2115617
 Division 12218228786
 Premier League11393834

Our best hope of gaining a result would appear to be the “Arteta effect”.


TA’s Preferred Lineup

I will probably do a predicted line up post tomorrow, based on injury updates etc, but below is my ideal formation/ line-up to beat the Northern Oilers:

What is your ideal lineup tomorrow?

53 thoughts on “Arsenal v Man City Preview and Ideal Formation and Lineup

  • That was a great piece and I’m going to read it again, just interesting to to note that Arsenal and Man City both share an appalling record in European competition.

  • Yes Total, I would go 3/5 at the back although I’m not sure about starting Tommo, my heart say start the big man and dominate but my head says have him on the bench and give him 30 minutes at the end of the game allowing him time to adapt.

  • Morning all I’ve been missing for a couple of days – a combination of new computer issues and medical appointments – so I was unable to contribute to PB’s fine post.

    Kev you need to add two more managers who won trophies in their first season:-

    George Allison – 1934/35 First Division League Title.
    Tom Whittaker – 1947/48 First Divison League Title and Charity Shield.

    JWL- I added your selections – thank you.

  • I know what you mean, Kev, and I dont expect Arteta to start the Octopus yet. But I would like to see him play and reckon he would worry Citeh as they don’t really know him. Xhaka can do the organising (although I expect him to be tired from his games v Spain and Germany) and Partey can just help with the defending and venture forward on occasion. The man knows what he needs to do. The good thing about the team I put forward is that they can all defend and yet can add to our attacking efforts too: absorb pressure, pass our way out of the squeeze and pounce when the ball is hot! 🙂

  • I like your starting line up Total although I’m not a big fan of Pepe – he seems to be taking a lot of time to settle into the team – we have seen glimpses of his potential, but he goes missing most of the time. My preference would be to start Lacca and bring Pepe on as a sub.

  • Of course GN5, how could I forget Allison and Whittaker, I guess it was because they were already a part of the existing system whereas George and Mikel came in from the outside with a new staff and methodology but yeah, you’re right.

  • Cheers GN5, Laca is a good shout. I expect us to sit deep and I prefer two attackers who are fast and carry the ball forward well. That would worry Citeh I reckon. Laca and Eddie are good but possibly too slow for tomorrow’s game.

  • I read somewhere that Agüero is still out, as well as Cancelo, Bernardo and Jesus.
    The 5-3-2 is an interesting line-up, TA. While I think it is a reasonable formation I would be surprised if Arteta would make that leap of faith. Nevertheless I would be happy to see Tierney in an LB/LWB capacity (and finally leaving the LCB role to Gabriel). But I feel Bellerin will get the nod ahead of Soares.

    I think if Arsenal wants to be flexible and effective in all competition then the boys need to be ‘fluent’ in at least 3 formations. The 3-4-3 is something we are quite good at it (which can turn into 5-2-3 counterattacking in defense), and there are some promising experiments with the 4-3-3 that would fit Partey’s skill-set the most. But using a double winger/striker formation is something nobody has experience in the team, and it would take at least half a season to reach a level when it will not be a liability any more. My predicted line-up:

    Subs: Rúnarsson, Holding, Kolasinac, AMN, Elneny, Dani/Saka, Pepe, Nketiah

  • I like your line up except for the back. Luiz would struggle in a back four against Citeh and I cannot see that happening tomorrow.

    The midfield and attack looks great though.

  • Thanks again GN5. Not necessarily of late, but in the early part of the last decade– when City’s fortunes were on the rise– Arsenal played them evenly at The Etihad. These last 4 away meetings OTOH were like preordained results. Playing them close was a victory. But then, the most recent version of The Arsenal? Weren’t close to ones we’ve been accustomed to watching.

    New day, new Arsenal. I’ve picked our boys to play like men tomorrow. An Arsenal win tomorrow spins the topsy-turvy PL a little faster still. Kev– I’d really like Mikel to send Thomas straight into the mix. City are at their most vulnerable point in many years. We need these points. City needs them more. All hands on deck.

    So looking forward to it!


  • Good point, TA, I must have slipped on that sentence.
    But shouldn’t an ideal line-up include Bergkamp and Fabregas? 😛

  • As the EFL window closes the King of the Loans is again Chelsea with 27 players out on loan followed closely behind by their only challenger Man City with 21 players out on loan and that’s how it’s been for a few years now. Both clubs accumulate players and then loan them out until they eventually sell them, it helps with their balance of payments and keeps them within FFP whilst keeping many promising young players out of the reach to any of their competitors.

    Interestingly Arsenal with 14 players out on loan are 3rd, so is that a new policy being implemented by us in order to ape the petrol dollar twins?

  • Kev, I didn’t realize we were getting up there in loans. Though 2 of them being quality players that id rather have in the team that we could really use, Guendo and Lucas, but the rest is a good sign.

    I don’t expect Partey to start. I think it will be Elneny and Xhaka with Partey to make a late appearance for one of them depending on the situation. Ceballos too maybe, if we’re behind.

    Just like Liverpool who came at us like a storm because they now respect us and wanted revenge for recent beatings, Pep will be trying to do the same in revving up his players for pride, even though they’re shorthanded. I think City will not have a good season, but I expect them to look strong against us. Guardiola wouldn’t say it publicly, but I don’t think he wants to have Arteta establishing dominance over him. They may be facing each other many times in the coming years. In this league and in Europe.

  • Hi J, good point regarding Guardiola and him wanting to exert his dominance over Arteta and I agree it’s likely that City will come flying out of the blocks, but I don’t think that they’re at the same level as Liverpool and we might be better prepared this time?

    City was the last time Arsenal won away at a top six ground so maybe the stars will aline for us again?

    I guess we should make the most of it as it’s looking like another lockdown is in the pipeline – deep joy…

  • From the Scottish Herald:

    NEIL LENNON says that Celtic want answers over the double standards surrounding Coronavirus restrictions, after Arsenal were cleared to name Kieran Tierney in their squad for this weekend.

    Tierney and Celtic’s Ryan Christie had been self-isolating since Scotland teammate Stuart Armstrong returned a positive Covid-19 test while on international duty, with the pair identified as close contacts of the Southampton midfielder.

    “We have been asking about Ryan for the last week or so and have met resistance,” Lennon said.

    “Arsenal have been given permission for Kieran to be in their squad so we are rightly confused.

  • Looks as if Arsenal did an 11th deal if the Southend website is correct?
    That’s 15 loans this window…

    Southend United are delighted to announce the loan signing of highly-rated Arsenal midfielder James Olayinka.

    The 20-year-old bolsters Mark Molesley’s squad, joining from the Premier League side until 27th January, 2021.

    Olayinka was involved in a pre-season tour to the United States with the Gunners in 2019, scoring against Colorado Rapids.

    He’s also featured for Arsenal in the EFL Trophy in the past three seasons, most recently in a 2-1 win against Crawley Town on Tuesday night, and was on the bench in the North London club’s Community Shield win over Liverpool in August.

    Last season the dynamic midfielder spent a brief spell with Northampton Town where he featured alongside Alan McCormack on a handful of occasions prior to the curtailment of the season, including in the Cobblers’ League Two play-off winning run.

    Speaking to us about signing Olayinka, which went through on deadline day yesterday but officially got ratified by the EFL this morning, Molesley said: “We’re really pleased to bring James in. He’s been on our shortlist for some time and we’ve had him watched a number of times.

    “He’s been well identified to us from our recruitment [team] and comes well recommended from people in and around Arsenal.

    “He’s had a very good education at Arsenal and we’re indebted to them for trusting us with one of their young talents.

    “I said if we felt we could add value we’d always look to do that and we’ve certainly done that with James.”

    On what the midfielder will bring, Molesley added: “The good thing about James is he can play a couple of different positions and that’s because of his physicality and energy.

    “Coming out of Arsenal he’s going to be technically good but definitely his work ethic, energy and athleticism stuck out to us straight away. He does a lot of other things good as well so he’s one we’re excited to be working with.

    “He had a taste of it with Northampton which got cut short due to Covid but he played in their play-off run.

    “I’m really excited to go to work with him over the coming months and I’d like to thank the Chairman for supporting us again to get the deal done.”

    Olayinka is unavailable for today’s game against Cheltenham Town and will train with his new teammates on Monday ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Salford City.

  • A hectic game at Goodison but despite my feelings for the Scousers I think they should have won and Everton should have finished with 9 men.

    Still, a good result for us, now we need to capitalise.

    Yeah Total, I think the move will do him good, it’s a shame about lockdown as I’d probably pop down to Southend to watch him play.

  • I love the result, but that offside was criminal. If they want to leave the decision up to a machine, they can program in a tiny buffer so as to not kill all the fun.

  • watching celta atleti
    for his first start in months, lucas has been excellent so far; the smart busy bee in the engine room, as always, and the king of blocks as well
    i wish i knew what went wrong between him and mick
    anyway, he’s still one of us, i hope we won’t let him go, he’s still young and has so much more to give

  • leno
    bench: rünarsson-mniles-luiz-partey-elneny-lacazette-nketiah
    4-2-3-1 is bold
    luiz sidelined is a strong choice
    auba CF is the wish of many, after sheffield, it confirms laca’s fall from grace – a shame, imo
    willian-pépé have left me wondering, so far … well, we’ll see that, too
    not enthused over the lineup, but …

  • I found that a frustrating half because I think if we really go for them that they’re there for the taking…

    We’ve maybe got away with a couple of iffy decisions this season, not in the big games mind but it was always likely to come back and haunt us and so it has, in a big game which is what I expected as that was a clear penalty at the end, but the referee bottled it and VAR didn’t wanna know.

    It seems to be setting itself up for Big Tommo?

  • Well … weird feelings
    We started well, I think, beating their high press in classy fashion, you could feel the brand new confidence mick has breathed into this side
    Of course, we suffered after the goal – Willian’s and Auba’s press was nonexistent, and then … well, the kind of crisp, speedy move Citeh are capable of
    But some of lads’ performances seem quite good to me (Hector, Granit, Dani), while Gabe’s, Bukayo’s, and Bernd’s are simply top-class
    I don’t know what to think about Pépé – to assess a winger in such a game, you’d have to be in the stadium, and be able to check the number and the intensity of his runs off the ball, the way he does his best to clog any attacking space for his defender …
    Auba’s worrying: of course, his post-lockdown fabulous run of games couldn’t run forever, but he seems … lost; I never thought I’d feel that one day about him. Sometimes, all it takes for strikers like him to be put back on the saddle is a fortunate tap-in , so let’s just wait and see
    I wish mick could pick the following XI, at some point:

  • Leno great save kept us in it. Ederson kept us from getting back. Pepe still frustrating, needs to pass instead of losing the ball. Tierney getting forward has been the key in our threats. We are still in this.

  • Good comments. We are playing well but lacked a bit of luck which fell the Blue Mancs way. As Kev is saying, we need a bit of confidence and push forward with higher tempo and intensity. All to play for. UTA ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • I really wish Auba would stay up top he has poor use of the ball when he gets it on the wing 9although he tends to score from there. Need to see Saka getting more touches.

  • Really need better corners either too close to keeper or not where the ball can be attacked.

  • Wish we went for it sooner subs came on a bit late. Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos and Saka had more drive but I felt the front three were uninspired. I understand they got to get balls from midfield but there was still something missing there like the raw energy Martinelli provides which Tierney tried to do from the wing.

  • we put up a fight, no question about that, but we are a wasteland of goal opportunities
    (and benching one of our two best goalscorers, who scored 3 in 3 at the start of the season, … well, i do find it hard to understand)
    anyway, let’s look forward to a great night in vienna now – nothing shameful about losing 1-0 away at the Etihad, is it?

  • Agreed, Le Gall.

    We indeed didn’t create enough, however losing the key passes duel by 11:7 to Manchester City away from home is not shameful at all. It could have been much worse. (Let’s note, that City played in a weird formation missing a lot of key players though.)

    Our entire weekend was unfortunate, as Arsenal U18 lost at home by 5:0, while our U23 team drew 3:3 against Manchester United. Our single point of the weekend is undermined by the fact that MU played with their real U23 players (who were in fact between 16 and 19), while we delegated 5 first team players to the game, although only Soares is literally above 23. Him, Saliba, Willock and Nelson played all 90 minutes (Nelson scored our first goal of the game, captain Balogun scored a late brace), while Emile Smith-Rowe played the first half.
    In Steve Bould’s team’s defense they played the majority of the game in a 3-4-3 formation, which they weren’t accustomed to at all. Taking it into consideration that the U23 team loaned out 5 center backs (no kidding) hence only 1 remained. So in order to manage to field a 3-4-3 line-up and to find a partner to Saliba and Dinzeyi they had to temporary promote 17-year-old Kirk to the U23 team (who was sent off in the 77th minute, but the score was already 3:3).

    It was not a weekend to be proud of being gunners, but maybe Arsenal Women will save fa

  • Reiss Nelson played and scored in the reserves, can he really not do what we get from Pepe and Willian, I’m not sure that there’s a lot in it if I’m honest, he’s never played consecutive games so he’s not be able to get any rhythm, it worries me when I see how much our club has invested in Pepe and Willian and how little we’re getting in return?

    Am I over reacting 😉

  • Tactically it was very, very good. Last half hour we tired and we were wasteful up front, but the games after intrrluls are hard especially when played away. We are making progress and the boys did us proud.

  • Its just a shame we didnt capitalize on such an opportunity with city missing players. Our performance wasnt bad but the disappointment comes from knowing we have the capability to get a result today. Leeds went up there and had a real go at them but it wasnt meant to be. However there were some encouraging signs and genuine hope that we will be much closer to city and pool at season’s end.

  • Kev, I won’t say you are over reacting, seeing as the sides that went there and played boldly got (or, nearly got) something out of it. Take Leicester City, for instance (and Leeds United, who should have got something but fell short).

    However, I liked certain periods of the game when we showed we could match them for possession and beat their press (more times than when we didn’t); it was good to see us calm under such intense press(es). Maybe, we should have brought on Laca earlier for Willian (still scratching my head as to how he looks a shadow of himself, with us and with so many Brazilians about); and don’t tell me AM-N won’t give better than Pepe did against City. In games as this, it can be profitable to rely on boys with Arsenal DNA, reason Saka and Bellerin were spritely with Saka our best player on the day.

    It frustrated me to see how little the pressure on Ake was, when you know he is still to settle into the City team. Someone needed to force some errors off him; see what Saka was doing to Walker on the other flank. Hopefully, this result will cause a change of approach when we meet another top 6 side in Man U in about two weeks.

  • A few of the results yesterday were a surprise; Southampton at Chelsea and the Merseyside derby were results against the majority of expectations. I did feel Everton could win it, though. But that’s the English premier league for you.

    I agree we need to have the likes of Nelson, Saka, Maitland-Niles-Niles and Nketiah on same pitch more often and you would see how easily they combine. Time to trust these boys.

    Ultimately, I believe we should look to a stable 4-2-3-1 formation with a midfield three of Xhaka, Partey and Ceballos (as a No. 10 type); Arteta probably wants Partey to settle into the league first.

    Cheers guys.

  • Greetings my old BK friends. Due to dodgy health my short term memory isn’t the greatest, but frankly I found the whole games boring. the rule change about the keeper passing to his defence within the penalty box from goal kicks has turned the game into a crazy chess game imho. frankly i am fed up with hearing about the press etc. i certainly wouldn’t fork out on a season ticket to watch David luiz and Gabriel swap passes for 80% of there game. Rant over and I guess we have we have little choice tactically at the moment.

    kudos to Saka and Tierney who i thought hard pretty good games.
    Oh and back to my rant. Why did Willian play up front? I just dont get t?

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