Arsenal’s first major pressure test and why cards are stacked positively 

by .

Today is a tipping point and we’re only in December. Lose to Manchester City and we hand momentum to Pep and Chelsea in a title race that already feels heavily advantageous to the Blues. Win and Wenger will have a proper title challenge on his hands, we can look at the Everton game as a blip and we can start thinking about how many points we can rack up in the remainder of the festive period.
So what do we know about City? ‘All the minutes man’ Fernandinho is not playing because of a suspension he picked up against Cesc, they have no Gundogan to pull strings and they have no Kun Aguerro. That’s a gift right there, it’s not as if they don’t have great players to step in, but the core is interrupted, especially in midfield.

We also know that City have only kept two clean sheets in 15. One against Watford in their last game which was perfect timing for us. John Stones has looked anything but a £50m defender this season and we know he can be rattled by an agressive press, or just being asked to make a simple pass. We also know Claudio Bravo is super suspect. His positioning has been consistently poor this season, he’s poor from crosses and it seems to get worse by the week as he struggles for confidence.

The key for me today is aggressively attacking them where their moves start at the back. Spurs had a great time employing that tactic. I also think we can damage them on the counter, they are such a mess at the moment. This was a great summation of City under Pep from Paul Doyle of The Guardian.

‘City could not cope with Leicester’s energy and directness and at times seemed confused by their own highfalutin scheming, with Pablo Zabaleta’s wandering role a particular puzzle. It is not anti-intellectual to suggest they were trying to recite poetry before showing they had learned their ABC.’

I don’t think City will be confused forever this season, so this is a major opp to do damage while they’re licking their wounded brains. But, as is a familiar pattern, when we’re called upon to fight, we’re always found wanting. This is a pressure game, the sort that will define our season. We already collapsed at Everton, when we should have taken a draw. Can Wenger summon something special, or will we be talking handbrakes and fatigue post game?

Who knows… but it’s going to be exciting whatever happens.

Buckle in and we’ll talk tomorrow!

P.S ok, so I was wrong about Ibrahimovic. But not wrong that we didn’t need him. We have Sanchez and a far more mobile set up because of it.

738 Responses to “Arsenal’s first major pressure test and why cards are stacked positively ”

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  1. WengerEagle

    ‘Great goal but I don’t understand why we haven’t tried to run at, and beyond their back 4 more’

    Becuae we don’t have a quality dribbler in the side, ironically Oxlade is our best and he’s on the bench.

  2. Dissenter

    Guardiola is being found out.
    He has no Messi-Iniesta-Xavi to count on like he had in Barca
    He cannot rely on Bayern’s historical advantage

    This is probably his first truly competitive assignment.

  3. Bishop

    I have seriously lost confidence in Cech..He kicks like a fool. Doesn’t do anything exceptional anymore. Just my opinion though cos he’s still OK.

    Xhaka worries me alot..too slow and makes useless passes in tight areas yet he’s slow.

    Ozil can’t and will neve run a 90 mind show..Always moaning yet he does nothing spectacular. Sanchez works hard so can complain.

    Walcott is a big game player.

    Gabriel is nerve wrecking..what a player Mustafi..i would play Holding ahead of Gabriel. Gabriel was better at right back cos his errors can be covered.

    I don’t trust this team to keep it tight till the end but I Hope for the best.

    Hope Sanchez is fine.

  4. Cesc Appeal

    City’s defence is just there for the taking, every time we go up their end we can create a chance, we’re just not being sharp or fast enough.

    Our defence worries me a bit, if City wake up we may lament not making more of that first half.

    Having said that, I really do think City are susceptible to leak a goal at any given moment.

  5. karim

    Ankit

    We’ve been pretty solid apart from that Kos howler which led to OUR goal.

    Xhaka / Coquelin have blocked a few opportunities, Gab, Monreal and Hector have been decent too, the latter creating the 1st goal with his pace.

    My only concern is that we could have done more to secure another goal but I’ll take it for now.

    Your take ?

  6. Confidentgoner

    WE,

    Ox a better dribbler than who? You joking. He is good at running, and only recently learning to finish, and to raise his head IP to pick up a pass

  7. Dissenter

    Wenger eagle
    Iwobi is a better defender compared with Oxlade. That’s why Wenger started him ahead of Oxlade I think.
    ‘Overall I do think Arsene should have started Oxlade in this game. He’s done enough this season to justify starting ahead of Iwobi..

  8. izzo

    This lot don’t know how to kill off games like this. Won’t be long before we let them back in for an equalizer. Pep throwing Sterling up front is laughable. Iheanacho should’ve started. Won’t be surprised if hes brought on and scores.

  9. WengerEagle

    CG

    It’s the only technical attribute of Ox that I rate, he’s shite in terms of so many aspects of the game but the lad is a very good dribbler.

    But yes, he does run into blind alleys a solid amount of the time due to his lack of a footy brain cell.

  10. Dream10

    Bet Guardiola brings on that little shit Nolito for Toure. He finds a way to score jammy goals smh. Good skill to have.

  11. Confidentgoner

    Same song, their defense have been playing a high line. That is Guardiola’s style. How high do you want them to move again?

    My point is it looks Sanchez got a bad knock, December is busy, why risk him? On the other hand, they are suspect with ball over the top , and that is Giroud territory. Plus Giroud can hold up, for other runners. His hold up is better than Sanchez

  12. Ankit_gooner

    Karim
    I have mentioned my view.
    Arsenal have been shit in everything except countering.We haven’t been convincing at all.City have been bad at everything while we have been bad at everything but countering.That’s the difference so far.Iwobi drifting centrally has been very important.Theo has been superb so far.He is having a very good season so far.Bellerin returning to fitness has been so crucial for him.

  13. Bishop

    Useless football club

    Did you see Cech’ s kick?

    Did you see the lost Xhaka..

    I knew those 2 have been shit…read my comments up

  14. TheBayingMob

    We are the benevolent club of the Premier League. If you’re in a slump and not playing well, hope for a game against Wenger’s Arsenal. They will help give you some confidence back by making average teams look good …

  15. Samesong

    Ankit

    Would you be saying that if we scored? Don’t think you would it’s a goal deal with it. This game should be out of site but we are the bottlers of the league.

  16. izzo

    More like level on side. quit complaining. What was Cech doing? How many times will he go to sleep waiting for the ref to blow? Kos marginally played Sane onside

  17. useroz

    Was coming but sane was offside. If Monreal was offside late 1H, Sane was more. This is bullshit when the comentator talked about the leg or upper body. In Monreal’s case it was his dick ffs.

  18. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pedro

    I can’t get the fucking two bob shit home Aldi advert off me screen

    Don’t shop there don’t believe the ads all there fruit is grade c

    The meat is bordering on use by date

    An the veg cuts black …

  19. Jamal

    We’ve choked again, what the fuck does Wenger say at half time? ” Errrrr great mental strengzz boys” and then sends them back out.

  20. useroz

    Not killing the game when we had more than half chances in 1H…

    Everton all over again if we don’t wake up. City is much more potent than Everton don’t forget

  21. Dissenter

    “Lot of talk about shit kicking from cech.Yes,he aint doing well but he doesnt have much options,they are closed off.”

    Closed off my foot.
    9/10 times his kicks barely cross the half-way line.

  22. Bishop

    Wenger has set them up to defend if they go 1 nil up forgetting Cech hasn’t kept a clean sheet in 8 games.

    Now they are clueless going forward.

  23. Samesong

    In no way should we be out of sight. We have not created many clear chances and they have missed a couple.

    Theo had a decent chance to score 2nd if he had just glanced header.
    Their keeper is pants.

  24. izzo

    Pep a manager that knows tactics and will implement it at different points in the game. Wenger a muppet that sits on his arse and waits until the 70 mins to make gutless subs.

  25. davedale

    So all us stupid fans are hoping we step it up and go for the win we need but the body language since we scored from all of our players says a point would be a great result. Not pushing at all just sitting back and trying to soak it up. City will win this.

  26. Jamal

    Passing it out of defence like cunts, oh well atleast we’ll win the “finish above Tottenham” trophy cause that’s all that matters right ?

  27. Hunter

    Your Comment Herewe are terrible today,City are passing us to death and the longer we stand off them the more likely it is that they will score again.iwobi,Monreal ,Ozil and Xaka are extremely poor,can see us losing this by a couple of late goals!

  28. vicky

    Wenger is tool, we are getting outplayed and he doesn’t change anything. I would bring ox and Giroud as soon as possible and possibly replace Gab with Holding.

  29. Bishop

    Ozil taking the piss now…No way he gets away with this rubbish.

    This guy is an idiot for the way he’s making us play like 10 men.

  30. EN1AFC

    Total and utter shambles since we scored, same as Everton. We could be on the end of a hammering against a poor city here if we aren’t careful

  31. Dissenter

    Wenger is a pathetic manager.
    He needs to make a point by taking Ozil off in a game such as these when he’s playing like a weasel

  32. Bishop

    Fuck you Ozil for how you hav played today..I don’t care you come up with the assit.

    You wreck this team collectively.

  33. izzo

    City turning the screw and kicking into gears. Same thing Everton did and this lot caved in. If every team we face plays like this then expect a 6th to 8th place finish.

  34. leftsidesanch

    *thinking to myself* where have i seen this movie before?

    Fell outta like with Cech a while ago, Ozil is fast getting there – how can you command £250k per week and rarely show up!!!!

  35. Paulinho

    No presence on their box.

    Chelsea have Costa that has presence and pace, we have Sanchez who has zero presence in the box, and Giroud that has no pace.

  36. Ankit_gooner

    Ozil is instructed to stay up between the defense and midfield lines of city to initiate counters and he is staying there,waiting for the ball to come up to him so that he can lead the counter.The ball isn’t coming to him because city have cut off the supply.