Last season’s performances have made me dread 12:45 kick-offs. For whatever reason, Arsenal played some enormous games occupying the top spot at that time and proceeded to fabulously capitulate. I shan’t go in any detail. Like me, I’m sure the horrors witnessed during those away trips is burnt into your mind for all of time.
For that reason, amongst others, I’m rather glad today’s match is at the Emirates. Not just because we’ll have our vociferous home support to act as the much-fabled ’12th man’, but because the levels of terror rumbling inside my midriff is considerably less than it would be had Arsenal been travelling.
Either way, though, today is a stern test of our credentials. On paper, I consider City to have the strongest squad in the league – you could argue that Chelsea aren’t a million miles behind, but I’d sooner wallow in my own sh*t for a fortnight than offer those dubious scumbags any form of credit.
City’s real potency is an attack. Defensively, especially when Clichy plays, they can be exposed. Offensively, however, they’re extremely dangerous and our back four and the holding midfielder will need to be disciplined and constantly aware. Both Gibbs and Debuchy like to get forward and City will look to exploit the space behind them when we press forward.
The Arsenal team news is a bit unknown at the time of writing. Perhaps most importantly, there are doubts wether Aaron Ramsey will play. Given the early stage of the season, I’m inclined to believe he’ll only start the game if he’s 100% ready – especially when we travel to Dortmund on Tuesday for the Champions League. I can’t see him being risked.
Elsewhere, Arteta, Gibbs, Ozil and Koscielny should all play. Danny Welbeck is expected to make his debut in the central striking role in the continued absence of Olivier Giroud. Abou Diaby miraculously came through 90 minutes with the U21s on Thursday evening and could make the bench.
My guess would be:
I find games like this difficult to predict. We all know that if Arsenal turn up and perform to the best of our ability, we can beat more or less anyone. Yet, I’m not entirely confient. Whilst it is undoubtedly early days, our form hasn’t gotten past mediocre so far this season. If that patchy form continues into a fixture with a team of City’s pedigree, we’ll probably get beaten. In short; we can ill-afford to not turn up today.
With that in mind, I’m hoping the significance of the game will bring out the best in our players. We have enough offensive power within our ranks to cause them problems and now, gloriously, and abundance of pace in the attacking third. I don’t expect the game to be a cagey affair. Both teams adopt the philosophy of attacking football. Both will go out to win.
As I’m so woefully unsure – I really ought try to be more optimistic – I shall predict a draw, but a draw that involves a few goals and shredded nerves. With Dortmund to come as early as the following Tuesday, the big matches have already started to come thick and fast. It’s the best place for your team to be. We all want to watch the matches with a great deal at stake. This is what it’s all about. Do us proud, Arsenal.
That’s all for today. I’m spending the initial part of the morning at work but will return in time to watch the game. I’m already a little nervous. The comments section waits for you below. Who would you start? How do you predict the game going? Let me know.
I’ll be back tomorrow to review the game. Until then, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.