Morning all.

Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference yesterday in which he said he’d “only be satisfied” if Arsenal are given the two points Lee Mason deprived his team of on Saturday. We already know the PGMOL has apologised to Arsenal after Mason failed to do his job but as said a couple of days ago, what good is an apology. It’s worthless.  

After analysing the images, we [had] a huge anger and disappointment because that wasn’t a human error – that was a big, big, big [case of] not understanding the job. That’s unacceptable. That cost us two points. That’s not going to be restored, so we’re going to have to find those two points somewhere else in the league. I will only be satisfied if they give me the two points back, which is not going to be the case. I appreciate and I think they were really sincere, open and genuine apologies and explanations, which is really good. But it doesn’t take away the fact that we have two less points than we should have on the table. Mikel Arteta 

Finding two points between now and May is impossible. I actually don’t know why the PL can’t just chalk off Toney’s goal and award Arsenal the three points. Same for Brighton who were also denied a victory because of “human error”. There’s a difference between inconsistency in decision making from game to game and cut and dry, or blatant errors. We’re not talking about an arm being in a natural or unnatural position when handling the ball in the box, a big toe being in front of the last defender or even whether a penalty should or shouldn’t be awarded, we’re talking about two huge errors which had the offside lines been applied/applied correctly, a different result would have been different.

Anyway, that’s not going to happen, so all Arsenal can do is focus on what’s ahead and picking up as many points as possible from the remaining seventeen fixtures. The pundits will tell us that tonight’s fixture and result is the most important for Arsenal but it’s not, not by a long way. Every game is equally important.

This same fixture last season was possibly the best a Mikel Arteta team had played since his return to the club as manager. Arsenal didn’t deserve to lose but guess what? Yes, abysmal decisions made by the officials made sure we did. We could easily have been two, maybe three goals ahead by half-time instead of the 1-0 it was. We could, perhaps should have had a penalty when Ederson fouled Martin Odegaard.

The Emirates was rocking, the players were performing.

The second half was all about VAR. Ten minutes after the restart, Bernado Silva went down inside the box, supposedly tripped by Granit Xhaka. Referee Stuart Attwell said no penalty but VAR intervened and instead of sticking to his original decision, Attwell decided to award City the spot kick.

We could have taken the lead almost immediately but Gabriel Martinelli missed his umpteenth chance of the game and then when Gabriel was given his marching orders, City always looked the more likely to score. They did. Three minutes into added time.

Fast forward a year, Arsenal were beaten again by Man City but this time the defeat came at The Etihad in the FA Cup.

I think we could have got much more out of the game. We had big situations in the game and we didn’t put them away. We can take a lot of positives, I think the way we approached the game and competed. It is really difficult to win against this team but we went head to head with them. In the big moments, in big matches, you have the make the difference. That is how you win these games. Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal played City without Martin Odegaard, Oleksandr Zinchenko, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Aaron Ramsdale in the starting eleven but I strongly suspect all will start tonight. Unless of course, Mikel Arteta believes Kieran Tierney, Leandro Trossard or Takehiro Tomiyasu are better suited to face the opposition. Or any other player for that matter.

Whether or not the manager is close to changing the team around was something he was asked during his press conference:

That’s more determined by results but for us, it’s more about performances and what players have given us to take us to the position we are in today. They deserve opportunities. Obviously we are looking to give players opportunities that they deserve. You talked about Leo – we’re talking about anybody who has had minutes in this league. There will be changes – it will happen and very soon.

Logic says changes will come soon and for any manager, they need to come before injury forces them. A number of our players have already played a lot of fixtures and their bodies must be feeling it. Perhaps the last few performances are a reflection of that because let’s be honest, the team’s not been at its best. Not since the FA Cup defeat at the hands of tonight’s opposition.

If Mikel Arteta’s players get their mojo back, I fancy a home win, especially with 58,000 fans behind the team. At least we know Guardiola’s team will not sit back and defend. The game should be entertaining, open and all about who takes their chances. I hope we can take more than them.

Catch up in the comments.