Arsenal v Man City FA Cup Preview and Line up. Sambi This is Your Moment!

Man City v Arsenal in the Forever Arsenal(‘s) Cup

My favourite Art Historian Kenneth Clarke once said that ‘Great men have a curious way of appearing in complementary pairs, there to keep human faculties in balance’. He was, as an example, speaking about the great ‘artists’ of the 18th century: George Frederic Handel and Johan Sebastian Bach. There is no doubt that Ferguson and Wenger needed each other to push themselves to the very best they could be; and it is clear that Klopp and Guardialo are similar ‘complementary pairs’.

But the big pair we will focus on for this game is the one of master and apprentice: Pep and Mikel. Nothing is more beneficial to a young career than being surrounded by a master or two. Mikel soaked it all up at Pep’s Citeh and it may well be that the two passionate Spaniards will become the two PL maestros for the current decade. Early days of course, and Klopp and possibly Ten Hag may have something to say about it too.

Guardiola is twelve years the senior of Arteta and it was a of course a very good choice by the former to ask Mikel to join him as soon as his playing career was over. Mikel’s English is much better (something that badly led down his Spanish Arsenal predecessor) and his focus on adherence to hard values and total football principles is much more Van Gaal-like than Cruijff and Wenger-like. Guardiola – more Cruijff or Wenger-like than Van Gaal-like – seems a bit more relaxed and philosophical these days; and there is certainly a bit of a calm master about him. I don’t like saying it but I have a lot of respect for the MC manager and the strategic decision making of the club’s owners.

It is ridiculous that we have played only half of our PL games and it is almost February. Our gap of five points plus a game in hand is surreal too. But tonight we are fighting Man City for a place in the next round of the FA Cup. It’s on ITV so a larger TV audience than usual will look forward to a great battle of the titans. Although Arsenal are of course the most successful FA Cup team in history, and we have to defend this honour every season, I wonder whether Arteta can afford to put out our strongest team with no hand-breaks on. The serious-looking Elneny injury is a significant setback to the team. Partey is of course key in any battle with MC but with MO injured we really are in a precarious situation. I don’t think we can risk Thomas tonight. So for me it is Lokonga time: put him in a strong team and show us what he is capable of. Now or maybe never, Sambi. Other than that I think we should start with many of the usual 11, with subs a bit earlier than usual. It is a big game and it never seems to work in these games to field a watered down starting eleven. We want to play well and put up a fight; there is more at stake here than reaching the next round in the FA Cup.

My Preferred Line-Up:






MC will push us back so Granit will sit deeper than usual which will be a good support to Sambi. Tomi and Tierney will be chomping at the bit for this one, and after 60 minutes or so we can bring on the likes of Zinchenko, White and Trossard, or even Partey to see out the game.

Alternatively, we can go wild and go with LeGall’s proposed starting 11:




What do you say fine fellow Gooners?!

By TotalArsenal.

69 thoughts on “Arsenal v Man City FA Cup Preview and Line up. Sambi This is Your Moment!

  • This is one of the most intriguing team selections you will ever see, by any manager. Such a special circumstance.

    I’d go with Turner,
    White, Saliba, Gab, Kt
    Sambi (with a defensive posture)
    Fabio for Øde.
    And of course Trossard starting for someone.

    Very similar to you TA, because I’m 50/50 on Tomiyasu/White.

    My reasoning,,Arteta likes to bring on our normal starters to get in some work when there’s a week in between games. So Partey and Øde will come on anyway most likely.

    The advantage is that if we lose, our players will know that we didn’t start all our best players, so it won’t dent their confidence. I don’t care what the fans or media would think.

    Starting the 4 best pure defenders, I chose to try to and guard against a blowout, which is the only real outcome worry aside from a draw.

  • I’d field the following, a team to scare the willies off those oily manc’s, bringing in Total’s mate, Granite, and Will and Gab to make up the numbers…

    1. GK: Pete the Magical Magyar
    2. RB: Kevski the Wingbasher 5. CB: Saliba 6. CB: Magalhaes 3. LB: GN5 the Quick
    4. DM: Stu the Dreamer
    8. RM: 7. Xhaka LM: Totaal voetbal
    10. RW: Lightening Le Gall 9. CF: Ox the Tall 11: LW: Electric Eris

  • Okay here is the lineup. It’s very sexy indeed, and strong:


  • Six new starters from our game v Red Mancs. Nice one by Arteta. Show us what you can do: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holdingho, Tierney, Vieira and Trossard!

  • Interesting thought on “complimentary pairs”, Total. I would consider Bach more a twin of Martin Luther. Both have statues in Eisenach, known as the City of Luther and the birthplace of Johan Sebastian Bach who, because of his oratorios and cantatas was called “the fifth evangelist”.
    Handel would certainly make up a fine triplet. Akin to our present midfield of Thomas, Granite and Ode.
    Speaking of midfield, if Moises (Moses) was to join us from Brighton, we are developing a squad of biblical proportions… Aaron, Matthew, Benjamin, Gabriel, Jacob, Thomas, Moses, Jesus, Gabriel… and Michael as Manager.

    Good news emerging about Martinelli’s contract.

  • Hahahahaha, Stuart. That’s some team.

    Arteta has gone with a bit of stability in every department of the team. Let’s see how things go.I hope the lads just go out and enjoy themselves.


  • J, I have replaced Xhaka with you in the midfield. Maybe Mikel will see sense and, even at this late stage, change the line up to the below…

    1. GK: Pete the Magical Magyar
    2. RB: Kevski the Wingbasher 5. CB: Saliba 6. CB: Magalhaes 3. LB: GN5 the Quick
    4. DM: Stu the Dreamer
    8. RM: 7. Jnyc LM: Totaal voetbal
    10. RW: Lightening Le Gall 9. CF: Ox the Tall 11: LW: Electric Eris

  • Great stuff, Stu. Unfortunately, Luther and Bach are centuries apart, so the relationship thing doesn’t really work. Bach was apparently mad on having sex, and I am not sure the same goes for Martin, but you may know more. 🙂

  • Ha! Really? Most men are keen on getting it on, but I don’t know of Martins proclivities, other than he married a former nun.

  • Half hour gone and all good. Trossard seems least impressed with the opposition and has had two shots on goal.

    Holdingho doing great with the Berserker.

  • A fascinating tactical battle. Robbo doing well, tho’ on a yellow so I’d bring on Saliba, and Martin for Fabio.

  • I don’t think we are inferior in any aspect of the game. And City is playing with their best attacking 6 (including midfielders), and the backup defending 5. So they are taking us seriously.

    According to WhoScored the highest rated player in the first half was Ortega, and if we can make the opponent’s goalkeeper the MotM that says something. Furthermore we lead the key pass battle by 4:3.

    On a different note, while I enjoy the minimal dominance and the individual performances, this game doesn’t look like the super clash of the 2 best teams in the UK. Nevertheless I don’t insist on playing the game of the season as long as we prevail.

  • Rob Holding was having jitters, just by the presence of Haaland. More interested in holding the man than defending or clearing the ball. That’s why he copped a yellow card for holding.
    Overall, we have held our own but it will be a different 2nd half. I expect the hosts to do better.

    Saliba is on for the 2nd half.

  • More than a win I hope for no injuries and for those on four yellows to get that fifth one before the next City game

  • PB, wait till February 15 and see if you have the same view about this clash. I believe the more relevant clash is the ones in the league.

    Our midfield will be easier for them without Partey. I hope it isn’t an injury to the big man.

  • From what I have seen of Sambi he has never been a DM but I am not watching this game hopefully Partey did not pick up a knock and after the Caicedo bid I am certain a midfielder will be coming in before the window closes.

  • Didn’t look like either team wanted to win this, but Citeh edged it by a sloppy goal. Bigger fish to fry of course, but I had hoped for a bit more fireworks. Players were clearly holding back to avoid injuries.

  • Positive performance. Their big Norwegian rendered anonymous, our boys not fazed in the least by the opposition. Bukayu was somewhat muzzled by the excellent Ake, and without Thomas our midfield lost the composure and control we enjoyed in the first half.
    Onward to Everton…

  • The boys played within themselves, except perhaps the trio of Gabriel, Xhaka and Trossard, who had something to prove, and boy, he looked impressive.

    Strange, but after they scored first, I really didn’t wish for us to equalise because that would mean replays (unless there is a winner.

    We move on.

  • Don’t panic yet guys but Partey is due an MRI scan after complaining of pain around his ribs, hopefully just bruising as anything worse doesn’t bear thinking about…

    Getting in another midfielder suddenly takes on a level of urgency because Lokonga just isn’t up to the job.

    I wonder if Kiwior can do a job Rodri does for City?

  • I think we can take this City team with our 1st choice XI at a raucous Emirates and get a draw on our return to the Etihad – nothing to fear from a City team that is tottering on the edge of becoming an old team…

  • Yes, Kev. Jacob or Ben could slip into Thomas’s role. And, yes, Kev, we ill run them ragged at the Emirates. I love the FA Cup but didn’t want a replay either.

  • T – it appears Caicedo is liked because he can play defensively or more advanced.

    It’s never easy for us to get big deals done, but I was a huge fan of Trossard the past 2 years. Will be so much better for us than the expensive Murdyk. That kid needs wide open spaces to run through, not only is this the tightest defensive league, but this new deadly Arsenal attack is going to have packed boxes set up against us from now on. Trossard is ideal in tight spaces.

  • I thought Turner had a good game. Really liked his anticipation and running into the ‘Haaland’ space. Quick to the ground too. Shame we lost to such a bad moment of concentration. Ake showed us again how important it is to keep the ball low from such a position. Leandro take note.

  • Here are my guess’s for this weekend, a tad late but no games have started yet.

    Madhu I cannot find your choices?

    Blackburn Rovers v Birmingham City H
    Bristol City v West Bromwich Albion H
    Fulham v Sunderland * H (2-0)
    Ipswich Town v Burnley H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool * A (1-2)
    Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt * H (3-1)

  • Elle s’appelle Margaux, TA.
    Won’t watch the game, but from I’ve just read here I think there was nothing to be ashamed of about that loss.
    You could have guessed it from the lineup I suggested, but I think it was the right call from Mikel to pick such a side – it might have been the last opportunity to do so.
    My only regret about yesterday is I would have loved watching Rob jumping down Robogoalscorer’s throat; and I wish the Wicked Witches of the East and West of Injury Land could leave us alone, too …

  • Manure are playing championship Reading FC with their regular starting 11, barring Maguire.

    I guess they know they need to win silverware this season, since the league title is unrealistic for them.

  • That picture at the top of the page after we last the FACup hasn’t aged very well, most of them have left or will soon be gone…

  • Margaux reads much better than Margot bien sur.

    Seems that Sir Thomas du Partey has been given a clean bill of health and will be available for Goodson Park.

  • Caiciedo is a nice thought but I can’t help this feeling of Arsenal agreeing a fee with Brighton and then Fatboy Boehly swooping in with obscene wages and a big bung for the agent, what an obnoxious owner he is but he suits that obnoxious club with its equally obnoxious fan base. They were made for each other, shit club no history!

  • The first book in English I was able to read without the help of a dictionary was Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, and every word of it has been living with me to this day.
    I don’t usually do that about writers – somehow, for me, knowing too much about them takes something off the effects their texts have on me – but I loved the book so much that I read all I could about Hemingway so that at some point, I came across his niece’s first name, Margaux, with -aux at the end, and loved it.
    I thought I had forgotten all about this, but right after we had been told our baby would be a baby girl, and had started talking (not very seriously) about names, we went out to see this Australian film, Lantana. We found it outstanding, so much so that we didn’t step out of the cinema right away after the end, we just let the title credits scroll down and when the name of the costume designer – Margot Wilson – came up, I knew what our daughter’s name would be.
    Later on, to announce her birth – I’m not sure this is the most subtle thing we’ve ever decided to do, but at the time we had great fun doing it – we actually adapted a Château-Margaux label, to tell the world what an exceptional vintage she would be …
    About the photo, yes Kev, it just goes to show how fast time flies for these young boys. They’re Icaruses, really, the higher up their career soar, the greater the risk is it might spin out of control and they might fall down. In these times of need of a defensive midfielder, I must say I loved our Uruguayan Mighty Mouse, and never really understood what had gone so wrong for him in THoF.

  • Knowing his style LeG, it is rather a mystery that Torrieira never really fitted in with Artetaball?

    Nice story about Margaux..,

  • I lived for a period of my childhood in Lantana Avenue, West Auckland, LG. So named for the profusion of the beautiful but toxic wild flower which gave the avenue its name. Years later in my teens we moved back to West Auckland and to LaRosa Street which adjoined Lantana Ave. I took up with a girl who lived on the avenue. Strange the memories this blog inspires.

    Margaux is indeed a beautiful name. I guess, you too would give everything for your Pearl…

    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

    Jesus — Matthew 13:45-46,

    Certainly one of the few things worth missing an Arsenal game for.

  • Brilliant stuff, Legall. Is Margaux at all into costume design or something similar?

    I loved Stuart’s related story too. My very first girlfriend was called Margot. She was in the last year of primary school and I was a year lower. Margot came up to me and said would you like to be my boyfriend? I can still feel the glow I felt then. A day later she finished it. I was heart-broken. It took me a few days to realise she was trying to date every boy in her and my year group. Some sort of bet. And then I felt happy to have been part, ever so briefly, of Margot’s generous, amorous heart. 🙂

  • Good comments by the night rider. The Bhoely boy is indeed a nasty thorn in our side, Kev. He is shaking his dollar bag with gusto at the moment. Luckily, we have a much more attractive offering to players, and if we want to can outbid most competitors. I am uncomfortable to try and get another BHA player, though. The rich are stripping the less rich and that doesn’t sit well with my belief in fair(ish) competition.

  • There was this prolific French writer, Frédéric Dard, whose crime stories conveyed a very dark, hopeless view on human nature – the two seasons of “Bloodlands” made me think of some of his books.
    But Dard also wrote a whole collection of parodies of espionage novels in French slang under the pseudonym “San-Antonio”, so that he ended up being regarded as the Mozart of slang, even by guys like Michel Audiard – even though Audiard himself wrote the screenplay of the most famous (and hilarious) French movie taking place in the Paris’s underworld of the fifties, “Les Tontons Flingueurs” (“tontons” is “uncles”, “flingueur” is “gunslinger”), whose cult scenes live on in folk memory as the most poetic instances of French slang that ever were, and ever will be.
    Anyway, with the best two buddies of my teenage years, we bought the whole San-Antonio collection between the three of us (they were very cheap, back then), and went as far as using the names of the characters to call one another. Your Margot brought back to my mind one of San-Antonio’s epigrams:
    “Mieux vaut partager un brasero, que d’avoir l’exclusivité d’une banquise“/”You’re much better off sharing a brazier than holding on to the exclusive right over an ice shelf”
    I was very happy to read that you share San-A’s philosophical view on Margot’s apparently heartbreaking behavior. As we get older that’s what most of us are inclined to do, I guess, so that we’re just left with tender memories and thoughts like “Once in a while/Along the way/Love’s been good to us”

  • Interesting memories shared by LeGall, Stuart and TA (crazy one there, though; what sort of bet would cause a lady to be reduced to one of easy virtue, dating every boy in two grades?).
    LG, I hope your little girl gives you every joy and grows up to be a blessing to her generation..

  • The Mozart of slang! Great comment, Legall. Are you still friends with your San Antonio palls? Such a nice thing to do, sharing books and character names.

    Yes Margot gave us all a glimpse of happiness. All innocent stuff, Eris. 😍

  • “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
    Margot’s loss was your lady wife’s gain, Total.

    You have a masterful grasp of the English language, LG. Je kiffe bien ton style.

  • It’s a public holiday here, so I am watching the game, Total. Balogun looks great in red and white.

  • Have recorded the game as I had a book review about Alfred The Great with a friend of mine tonight.

    Looks like we are more than fine in tge CF position.

  • Thanks for that link and clip, LeGall. Folarin Balogun does look like an accomplished striker out there. He will return better and ready, fingers crossed.

  • Foloran is growing just as Charlie is growing at Blackpool, they’ll be LANS next summer, no need for another striker and Charlie in situ to gradually work his way into the team, c’est tres bien

  • What’s the book, Total?

    Yes, Jesus, Eddie, Trossard and Folarin knocking on the door. We are blessed.

    An astonishing stat I heard this morning, one which reveals our tenacious pursuit of three points rather than settle for a draw. Against Man U we had 61 touches in their box, 48 of them in the second half. None as good as that last one from Eddie.

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