The big one is tomorrow, Arsenal vs Manchester City, Pep G vs Arsene Wenger, the end of the top 4 challenge or the beginning (new beginning).
However you want to frame this match, it’s massive. Fans are preparing another protest, it should see some big numbers because it’s on a Sunday and at a time suitable to the masses and the temperature is pretty moderate. The game is massive as well, you kind of get the vibe Wenger senses Pep G is weaker than an Abou Diaby hamstring right now, he can see the headlines in his dreams….
‘Arsene Does Know’
John Cross writing the, ‘well, people think Pep G is good, but look, Arsene just beat him, so maybe that makes him better’ article as we speak.
… but will the dreams become a reality? Will we see something tactically surprising from our lot? Will we see a reaction to his confused fighting talk in the press this week?
Or will we just see more of the same. Arsene does have a habit of leaning on his footballing philosophy for games like this. What I mean by that is he generally changes nothing, pays zero attention to who he’s playing and how they play, and he usually loses.
What we know:
Last time we played City we faced them off the back of a grueling schedule, and straight after a midweek defeat against Everton. We had nothing, we totally ran out of steam and we let them pick us apart. Well, let’s get more specific, it initially looked like we had a game plan, which was to sit deep, steal the ball, then counter them at pace… but after a while, you realised it wasn’t a plan, we were just tired and didn’t have the power to press.
Sure, we lost to 2 offside goals, but again, you felt they had more gears. We also showed that our starting 11 struggle under pressure. We lost the ball in midfield a lot, Ozil looked lost, and we passed really badly. I think the top 7 passers of the game were City names. If that’s playing to your philosophy, well, I’m not sure that’s a plan.
So what can we do tomorrow? Could we drop a 4-5-1? Ozil on the left, three middle men being Xhaka, Ramsey and Chamberlain… then roll with Sanchez through the middle and Theo on the right? Keep it tight andy compact in the middle with the ability to break at pace? Could we opt for a surprise 4-4-2 against a very dodgy John Stones? Or will we just do what we normally do and go gung-ho for glorious failure?
We know City are terrible at the back. We know they really don’t deal well with an aggressive press. We know Yaya Toure through the middle can look very pedestrian. My main concern with City is they have Arteta who will know exactly how to get at Arsenal, because you know he probably had a lot of the answers when he was been handed to the wolves under Wenger for 5 years.
Right, that’s all I have time for today, have a great one!