The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Manchester City (h): Thoughts, Team News And Predicted Starting XI

“Really, Olivier? Another one?”

Morning, folks.

If you’re wondering where my usual posts have been the last couple of days, I can explain… At present, my life is a marathon run of epic proportion in which I must navigate many stress hurdles. The perils of moving home and selling a house currently is paramount amongst those. In place of my customary tripe you’ve had a few guest posts – I’m using those to fill a little space and, hopefully, give you a little enjoyment – yesterday’s post with a quiz on Arsenal’s history is worth a look.

With a bit of luck, the mayhem will relent soon and I’ll be able to get back to writing everyday properly. As things stand, Daniel and I will be taking a break from the Goonersphere Podcast for a few weeks as he’s as busy as I am with the birth of his first child.

I’m sure you’ll all understand.

Right, onto more pressing concerns and today’s fixture; the visit of free-scoring Manchester City. I can’t lie to you, boys ‘n’ girls, this one has me filled with dread. In weeks gone by, City haven’t just beaten the teams around them, they’ve battered them. Whilst I still think they have weakness at the back that can be exploited, their forward line is so formidable you wouldn’t bet against them simply outscoring anyone they play.

Today is going to be an enormous task, but once I cast that dread to one side I allow myself to have positive thoughts. It might seem like an impossible task, but if the players available to Arsene perform as well as they are capable, then we certainly have it within ourselves to offer City a decent game. Home advantage certainly helps matters also.

The team news is as it was on Tuesday; we have no fresh concerns, but will still be missing Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny. Losing 5 players of that importance for any game would be a blow to the vast majority of teams in Europe.  Wether it’s purely coincidental bad luck or mismanagement of the much-fabled ‘red zone’ is irrelevant to me; I just know it’s a shame they’re not avalable. Abou Diaby won’t make the squad either due to an unfortunate accident involving a lemon meringue pie. He could be sidelined for some time…

My guess at the team is:

Vs Man City

I’m not all that keen on offering a prediction. Stating you see your favourite team losing an upcoming match has always struck me as being a touch overly pessimistic. After all, you have to at least have an element of faith otherwise what’s the point. What I will say is this; I do believe Arsenal are capable of winning the game. Much will depend on how we set-up. Should we take the field with our usual mentality I think Man City will know exactly how to beat us.

I’m hoping Arsene has a trick up his sleeve. We’ve been resoundingly trounced by the ‘big’ teams this season and the approach we’ve adopted in those defats has seen us overrun within the first 30 minutes. It’s a safe bet Pellegrini will send his team out to press us high and fast and force mistakes.  I think we need to come out with the intent to win the ball back fast and take the fight to them, and we need to show a willingness to do that with vigour from the start.

If we do, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get something from the game. Flamini and Arteta will both be important and will need to offer as much protection to the defence as possible. Whatever occurs, I don’t think it will be boring.

That’s all for today, folks. I’ll leave you with the usual nod towards the comments and a request to hear your thoughts – who would you start and how would you play? Let me know. Tomorrow I’ll return with a review of the game. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match previews
  • Abiola festus says:

    My heart says Arsenal will win… My first comment!! On stokes’ blog

    March 29, 2014 at 9:16 am
  • Ogban says:

    Kallstrom for Arteta and Podolski for the Ox please.

    March 29, 2014 at 9:24 am
  • Andy Davies says:

    City fan in peace. First of all I hope you win the FA Cup as it has been too long for the fans who spend a lot of money and see such little return. I don’t think you should be as negative though. Fernandinho and Yaya are a match for anyone but the Ox is always going to create problems and when Giroud is on form you’re shit hot. All Arsenal lack, for me, is a top top striker like Benzema or Cavani etc. You’re not far away.

    March 29, 2014 at 9:44 am
  • alphie_izzett says:

    Forgive me if I am wrong Raul, but doen’t City have the 2nd lowest goals against total in the PL?

    How many fellow Gooners would ‘bite yer ‘and off’ for that record going forward?

    Just look at the side you have set out and, sure the injury situation is dire, compare it to this:

    ……………………….Hart
    Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov
    Navas……Yaya……Fernandhino…..Nasri
    ………………Silva…Negredo

    Then there is a bench probably containing Panilimon, Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Milner, Dzeko, and Jovetic, all of whom would get in most of the PL sides and half of which would walk into the Arsenal side today.

    I am not shy nor am I a pessimist, usually I am considered a blind optimist.

    Considering what could happen most would settle for an honourable Arsenal 0 -2 City

    March 29, 2014 at 9:52 am
  • nijjy says:

    how arsenal is gonna get through the rest of the season with this paper-thin squad is horrifying prospect. with such depth in midfield at the start of the season, we’re now skin and bones. just goes to show you how ineptitude in the transfer market can cost dearly, specially with a club that’s building a reputation for getting players its players knackered and injured. hopefully we’ll get through it without further injuries.

    March 29, 2014 at 10:42 am
  • themightykarim says:

    Well done Andy !
    Nice of you to sympathise with our poor lot…

    March 29, 2014 at 11:32 am
  • mav361 says:

    Arsene’s biggest problem is his stubbornness he thinks he can approach every game with the same philosophy he never changes his line up or tactics home or away it’s always we are gunna score more than you which is fine when your playing the lesser teams in the PL

    If he was to adopt a different approach against the teams around us especially away it would make a massive difference over a season

    0-0 away against the teams around us would change the current PL table hugely and we would all still believe we were in with a chance for the title

    I know this is very hypothetical but reversing the 3 stuffings we have received against the top 3 to draws the current league table would read

    Chelsea P31 W20 D7 L4 Pts 67
    Liverpool P31 W20 D6 L5 Pts 66
    Arsenal P31 W19 D9 L3 Pts 66
    Man City P29 W20 D4 L4 Pts 64

    Add into the fact the Swansea game when we were so nervous and confidence was low after the Chelsea stuffing we couldn’t hang on, if we had we could again hypothetically add another 2 points to our total and we would still be top………….

    Arsene needs to learn you can’t win every game and over a season you don’t need to

    Lesson over

    Gunna get me CV updated and apply for his job

    March 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm
  • Admir says:

    James, if you haven’t heard yet, Wenger claims that Diaby is coming back to full training next week.

    He has been in hibernation similar to the one Wesley Snipes was in “Demolition Man” and he waits next season fixture against Stoke to cut Ryan Shawcross in half with his roundhouse kick. His right foot is called “Aaron” and the left one is “Ramsey”.

    March 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

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