Morning Grove fans and welcome to the biggest Sunday this week. Before we kick into the post, I have some bad news. I’m moving servers again. My dream of server costs being below £7 a month have been shattered, as some of you may have seen with the slow site and the regular crashes. I’m moving to my own server for the last time this year.
What I actually did is post this up last night, then the servers switched straight away and I lost this post. So here it is again! Sorry for the mix up! Welcome to my new server!
Onto the game. It’s massive for us and it’s massive for City. It’s huge for us because it’ll tell us just how close or far we are from arguably the best team in the country. For City, they have to prove they’re a great team, a good way to do that is show your bouncebackability after your first loss of the campaign.
City are organised at the back like a typical Italian club from the nineties. In my opinion, they’re not the most individually talented back 4, but they are the most drilled and efficient. That said, they’ve only kept one clean sheet in their last 8. So there’s hope for us on the goal scoring front.
It’s worth noting that they play with two anchor midfielders and their driving centre midfielder is also the ex-Barcelona holding man so you know that if they choose, they can be tighter than an Arsene Wenger secret Santa outlay.
City head into the game without Gael Clichy in the back four, which is a benefit kind of… actually, without meaning to besmirch the name of a solid ex-pro, I think I’d prefer if he did play. We know he has the penchant for a Senderos moment. Tevez obviously wont start, but Balotelli, Dzeko or Aguerro will… so the back 4 are in for a tough day. That’s a back 4 of centre backs. Not particularly balanced you have to say. Hopefully that will mean we won’t have any problems from corners (I can dream)!
Key positives from our back line is that three of those defenders are top class. JD can be a superb asset for us when he has his head straight. Trouble is, that hasn’t really happened this year. We need to be careful tomorrow. He’ll need extra cover because City will double up on him all day long if they’ve any sense.
In midfield, I expect Song, Ramsey and Arteta to start. I’d imagine Arteta is going to have to sacrifice quite a lot of his forward play tomorrow to take care of the tricky players in the centre of City’s midfield. Alex Song will have to play a disciplined strong game. His break up play will be key and his distribution will have to be sharp if we’re going to exploit any holes at the back for City. Loitering on the ball is a no no tomorrow.
I think Napoli showed that if you want to take on City, you have to play them on the break. You can’t show them respect, you have to go into the game knowing you’re the better team, they don’t have the belief a seasoned team of Champions does, so when the wheels start to come off, the only thing they have to call upon is a £400million bench. Jokes aside, if we can get stuck into them early on and control the pace of the game on our terms, we could cause an upset.
What great bragging rights a win here would be before Christmas eh?! It almost feels like a 6 pointer today, any lost points will be made all the more painful because all our rivals are playing poor teams.
Update – Chelsea drew…
Lets keep them crossed, hope the old Arsenal turns up and pray that fight, discipline and hard work can lead to a cheeky 1-0 win!
Wenger refused to rule out snapping up Thierry Henry. Apparently signing a striker hasn’t crossed his mind yet. Really Arsene?
“I haven’t even investigated that. I cannot tell you even if there is a chance because I haven’t even made any approach, not to him nor his club. I do not always master all my thoughts so it has to come through my brain at some stage but I haven’t been concrete on the case.”
You’re in training, watching Chamakh getting wedgied by the youth team players for being rubbish and signing Thierry never crossed your mind? I don’t believe you!
Robin came out and stated the obvious…
‘I don’t think it’s clever to be excited by fourth, fifth, sixth or whatever. We still have to play many games.’
No one is excited about 4th position, but people are looking at the reality of the situation. If you think we can go further than that, we’d all be able to take our expectations up a notch and start getting excited about competing for the league.
“I don’t see why we can’t surprise again. We’re having a good run. Everybody is confident and believes in themselves. The spirit is as high as it can get.”
This is good to hear and for once, it’s being reflected on the pitch, let’s see where it is after tomorrow night. Will we be talking about Arsenal being top 2 contenders, or will those secret dreams we’re all harbouring be dashed back into place?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Enjoy the game and have a marvellous Sunday!