Manchester City, Premiership (H): Team News And Starting XI

Afternoon, folks.

No post yesterday as I was snowed in…

And I overslept. And I was extra bust at work. And I managed my time especially poorly. And I had to field quite a few angry, abusive e-mails from the Brendan Rodgers Mafia on account of Tuesday’s post, the majority of whom seem the think he’s practically the 2nd coming of Christ. For those I did upset, I have prepared this frank, encompassing apology:

Dear Brendan Rodgers Mafia,

I realise the error of my ways. Brendan Rodgers is not only the finest club manager ever to grace professional football, but it’s now obvious to me he was born of an ethereal place mere mortals cannot comprehend. 

On account of this jarring revelation, I own a large, self-aggrandising canvas portrait of myself – arms folded and scowling – in the hope such a possession can lend me a little of the man’s greatness. I have also prepared 3 envelopes that contain the names of potential commenters that will disappoint me. 

I’m also pretty sure I could win the SPL with Celtic. 

Yours lovingly, 

James. 

Obviously, I’m kidding. But, I’m happy to take a few shots in my direction. It’s par for the course and if you can’t take it in return, you shouldn’t give it out in the first place.

So, assuming there are not postponements (None at the time of writing), we face Man City. Again. And I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to it. Of course, it would be typical Arsenal to pull out an excellent performance tonight and win when the pressure is pretty much off the team, but I’ve a feeling that our visitors will be too good for us again. That’s the pessimism talking. Pessimisms prettier sibling hasn’t been around for a while.

With the weather and supporter disdain playing a big part, tonight’s crowd could be the smallest on record at the Emirates. If I was in London, I’d seriously consider giving it a miss. It’s so cold here today (windchill of -10) that I’m even considering not watching the game on TV and building myself a nest of sticks and hay in which I can hibernate for the next 2 weeks.

But, I’ll probably watch, glutton for punishment that I am. So, with that in mind, let’s have a look at the team news.

The only fresh injury in Nacho Monreal, who will miss somewhere in the region of 2-3 weeks with shoulder issues – presumably sustained whilst carrying the other defenders. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will feature having been ineligible for the sh*t-show at Wembley. David Ospina will return to the bench in favour of Petr Cech. My guess is we’ll field the strongest available team, something like this:

Aaron Ramsey didn’t look especially fit on Sunday, so I think he’ll start as a substitute. That team looks a threat in the attacking areas, but still prone to bone-headed defensive blunders and shipping a few goals. Against a strike force as formidable as City’s, it’s a safe bet there won’t be a clean sheet tonight.

But, as I said previously; I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a reaction and a good performance, and that’ll be really annoying. The first question to spring into my mind will be, “Why couldn’t you do it on Sunday when there was more at stake?!” Arsenal can be so bloody unpredictable at times, and maddeningly so.

In order to win tonight we’ll have to defend. Even if City have an off night in the cold, they’ll still create chances. I’m going to predict a score draw, something akin to the Liverpool game. 2-2. Either that, or we’ll get tanked and the atmosphere will get really nasty. Arsene Wenger has had to field some tough questions about his future at Arsenal an there’s a real chance this season could be his last.

If he’s going to keep his job, results will need to change and a win tonight would go someway towards restoring a little favour. If we lose, and lose badly again, then we’ve another week of the pressure mounting until it eventually becomes the catalyst for change. With AC Milan to come in the Europa League, the next few weeks could be some of the most important in Arsene’s Arsenal career.

That’s all for today, folks. Pop me a comment with your prediction on the score, or if you just feel like calling me a c*nt.

I’ll be back to review the game tomorrow.

Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Soundtrack to this post: 

Âme – ‘Shiro’ 

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