No one expects us to win today, apart from the most optimistic of Arsenal fans and possibly Mikel Arteta and the players. I usually have a ‘play the strongest team on the day’ view but I’m not so sure today, not with such a big game in a few days time. It must be a tough decision for Mikel to make. Does he rest Saka and ESR and give Tierney a few more training sessions before starting him, or does he just carry on with the team which beat Leeds and we’re unlucky not to beat Benfica too? At some stage or another, I think we’ve all suggested a settle first eleven is better than chopping and changing players around. However, surely Lacazette and Holding have to come back in at some stage, Martinelli too and Pepe.
Against such a strong side as Man City, Thomas Partey will be a big miss if he fails a late fitness test. Without him in the midfield, Mikel Arteta’s choices are limited to Xhaka, Elneny and Ceballos. I’m a glass full kind of person but there’s our weakness right there. All three, in my opinion, need a player of Partey’s calibre alongside them. Still, it is what it is for now. Have a plan and execute it with perfection.
I’m sure that’s Folarin Balogun in the photo with Alex Lacazette and if I’m right, he’s clearly set to be part of today’s squad. Especially after missing the under 23 fixture on Friday night. Yes, I really want him to get his chance in the first team but then you might have worked that out by now.
Whilst all seems doom and gloom ahead of today’s game, let’s not forget that in the FA Cup, just seven months ago, we beat Pep’s side 2-0. Aubameyang was the hero that day as far as goals go but every player played their part in what was a fantastic victory for Arsenal. City dominated the game as far as possession goes but when it cam to finishing, they had a touch of the ‘Arsenal’s’ and as we know only too well, it matters not how much control of a game a team might have, only goals win a game.
Against Leeds, Arsenal scored goals. Four but could, should have scored more. But for the woodwork eh. Similar happened on Thursday when chances came and went. Simply put, Arsenal need to be more decisive in attack and clinical in front of goal. City in their last game, breezed past a good Everton side 3-1 so yes, it’s going to be tough.
Nevertheless, I’m rally looking forward to this one.
See you in the comments.