Morning all.

I hadn’t been long in this world when Manchester City were relegated into the old Division Two. Two years later, and after the appointment of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison – they were back in Division One with better times ahead. Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell joined City and then in 1967-68, they won the league. An FA Cup trophy followed, as did a European Cup Winners Cup but as far as European success goes, that was their lot until Pep Guardiola led them to Champions League victory last season. Their success story as far as League winners go was restricted to titles outside of the top tier in English football, until their big takeover that is.

In 2008, Manchester City were in a financial pickle. Thaksin Shinawatra had taken control of the club the year before, but political ‘issues’ saw his assets frozen. Later the same year, in came the Abu Dhabi United Group and the rest as they say, is history. Money was no object as one expensive signing seemed to follow another. Mark Hughes their manager at the time, a man in a similar position then as I think Eddie Howe is in now at Newcastle, was soon replaced by Roberto Mancini. An FA Cup and Premier League title was won under his management but after losing the FA Cup final to already relegated Wigan the following season, he was sacked.

Next to try his luck was Chilean Manuel Pellegrini. A League Cup winners medal, another League title followed by a decline and he too was gone. Goodness only knows how much the club had spent on transfers by this time but I know some of the money ended up in north London.

Then came Pep Guardiola and City haven’t looked back since. According to the internet, City’s spending under the Spaniard alone looks like this:

Total Spent: £1.074billion
Total Sold: £596million
Total Net Spend: £478million

It still took him seven seasons to conquer Europe and a whole lot of money.

This piece is not written with any kind of envy or indeed bitterness towards City and what they have achieved but, if it’s proved they broke the rules along the way then I really do hope they receive the kind of punishment which hits and hurts them hard. Same goes for any club found guilty of operating outside of the rules.

Compare Man Utd’s spending during Guardiola’s time at City and you might be surprised:

Total Spent: £1.077billion
Total Sold: £242million
Total Net Spend: £835million

Arsenal, well they’ve had it tough since the big takeovers at Chelsea and Man City and for years have lagged behind, certainly in the spending of money department. On the pitch too, they’d been pretty disappointing. But, after Unai Emery had the thankless task of working under a board without any kind of direction or plan, with change, change has come.

This is Mikel Arteta’s 4th full season as Arsenal manager and whilst we’ve won the FA Cup, success in terms of a League title or a European trophy, we’ve come up short. .

£600 million worth of players signings, still less than City, Utd and Chelsea have spent and we’re backing up last seasons 2nd place finish with another challenge for the League title. This time around though, we seem better equipped.

To you and I, £600 million is an obscene amount of money but in football, it’s not, not really. Not over a five year period and the cost of footballers these days. Ask any Arsenal fan if Arsenal still need more players and I suspect the answer will be yes. A striker, a midfielder, a winger and a central defender – perhaps even more but these days, the financial big brother is watching every club so it’s not easy. To continue funding the strengthening of the squad, I think it’s inevitable that we’ll see a few departures this summer and some of them might not go down well with every Arsenal fan. ESR, Nelson, Nketiah and Ramsdale could be the sacrifices the club make in order to raise funds. Partey, Soares, Elneny, Hein are likely to depart too which of course will free up funds to pay any new signings.

For now though, it’s about who we have and doing something Arsenal haven’t done for a while and that’s to come away from The Etihad Stadium with a positive result. Whether that be a draw or victory. Of course City will be favourites but I think they’re beatable and I think this Arsenal team/squad can beat them. Even at The Etihad.

Many a conspiracy theory is floating around the internet, especially surrounding injuries but I’m sure both managers know each other too well to fall for any kind of mind games.

The officials have been appointed:

Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn.
Fourth official: Tom Bramall.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.

Surely the PGMOL could have found someone other the Jarred Gillet to operate VAR……

Catch up in the comments.