Manchester City Preview: Semi-final nostalgia, pumping value, finding a better plan

by .

I read someone in the comments say I didn’t write match previews these days. It is true, as I’ve been gunning to do the match report right after the whistle, but today, I’m gonna do one for you DivineSherlock.

I’m very much buzzing for an FA Cup final. At this point, we’d probably have pitched up at The Greenman, 4 beers deep after a meet up at that ‘Spoons a Liverpool Street. I’d be meeting cousins, my dad, the extended Le Grove family. My brother would be leading the charge on pints, lapping me by at least 3. My dad would be holding court about Alex Song and Arsene Wenger.

‘No Dad, it’s ok, Wenger’s gone now’

We’d all laugh at the guy slumped in the corner that had wet himself, then we’d applaud as he got up in time for the walk to the stadium. The good times, the good times.

Ahh, I miss it. I miss hanging out with the Arsenal family. I’m gutted for all the kids that miss out on a day like today. Semi-Finals are iconic days out. They are special. You always remember them.

This year is different, no fans are allowed in the ground, so we’ll be watching the players battle it out to an empty stadium. That doesn’t mean it lacks importance. For Arsenal, a win defines our summer transfer window. Currently, it’s a roll of a dice as to whether we make it into the European positions. We can finish anywhere from 10th to 6th. The FA Cup guarantees us a place in the Thursday night trophy (sad that we’re pining for that level of comp these days).

Arteta was realistic in his presser. He knows Manchester City better than anyone. They’ve scored the most goals in the Premier League this season, on their day, for me, there’s still no better side technically. Peak Guardiola football is mesmeric. They also have a team of game-changers. The shapes, the off the ball movement, and the decisiveness in important moments makes our task daunting.

The gameplan versus Liverpool was not to get absolutely battered for 90 minutes, but that’s what happened. I don’t think we’ll be able to ride our luck like that for a second game in a week. Arsenal have to show up, they have to play a better game of football, we have to try and control their strengths, but also play to our own.

I don’t know how we change it up in this game, but we know there is a path forward, because the first half against Leicester showed that there is a football team that can express themselves like Arsenal somewhere hiding in the squad.

That’s what we’ll try to do as much as possible! Like any other team they have some weaknesses, as you mentioned, and as well it’s about stopping their strengths.

They have a lot. It’s part of any gameplan. It’s not about City, it’s about any other opponent we are facing. Tomorrow we will do exactly the same.

One of their weaknesses this season has been away days. They’ve been pitiful for their standards on the road. They are also susceptible at the back if you get at them with pace in the front line. I’d imagine we’re going to try and load up with pace, Auba, Saka, and maybe Pepe. Then it’s about bringing the most stable backline offering we have (👀). It’s really hard to decide what that looks like these days. Rob Holding grew immensely with the Liverpool game, he feels like a better option than Kola. I thought Cedric Soares looked off his game, does he get the nod over Bellerin, or dare I say it, AMN? This is what he said on the 22 year old.

He’s a player who can play in many different positions, we have discussed the things in my opinion that he can improve or adapt to his game because he has incredible quality. He has every quality that you need to be a football player to play the highest level and he just needs to do it in a little bit more of a consistent way, but he is someone who can adapt to any position as well.

AMN could be a very good player, he showed it against Wolves. Focus is his weakness though, that said, it’s hard to say that focus isn’t an issue with at least half the starting 11 we roll with game to game.

That also leads us to Mustafi, does he start? Probably. We have to hope that we get the best version of him, because the German Superman, flying into challenges, is not going to help against City.

In midfield, it’s pretty clear what we’ll do. Arteta was effusive about Ceballos.

Well that’s a conversation that we are having with the club, to see what we can do in the future with him. But I’m really, really happy with the progress and how much he’s improving and giving to the club.

I always give the example that he’s a loan player but when you see his celebrations for every goal, the way he trains every day, how much he cares, he’s fighting, he’s top. I’m really happy with him.

Dani has been excellent for us. He moves the ball forward and his defensive contributions get better with each game. Xhaka will no doubt sit next to him despite a little dip in form of late, likely due to fatigue. Then the question is whether Torreira starts. I suspect he will.

It’s extremely important we come out of the gates this time. Starting smartly generally leads us to better performances. Wolves and Leicester showed us that. We are a team that has fragile confidence. If the game plan looks good, we have a great chance. If it’s off, the players tend not to recover (Spurs). When we let Liverpool take control, we never took it back. I appreciate it’s Liverpool, but we’re not a team that should allow another side such a large chunk of possession. City with have more answers to a deep block than Liverpool.

We have to nip at City, we have to ask questions of their defence, and we have to play a more positive game.

Arteta was asked about Mesut Ozil again, his response was a terse, ‘he is in training.’ It’s clear there is very little chance of him returning this season. Fans remember the wrong Ozil when they don’t see him. This is a guy that was the best #10 in the world, he is not that now.

Here are his numbers.

Last 3 seasons:

68 Appearances

10 goals

13 assists

Last two seasons:

42 appearances

6 goals

4 assists

£350k p/w

3 Villa players have matched/more assists this season than Ozil has in had in 2 years (Grealish, Hourihane, El Ghazi). Andy Carrol has the same assist numbers this season as Ozil has had in 2 seasons.

He is the best chance creator in the team, still, but his 2.3 chances per game is more than half what it was back in the day, and those numbers don’t outweigh the negatives of having a player that regularly doesn’t show up in important games. Are we beating Liverpool with Mesut in the week? No chance.

Arteta also cleared up the SPEND SOME FUCKING MONEY comments he made in the week.

No, that was misinterpreted. It wasn’t my intention. We work so closely with everyone at the club, with the owners to put the plan that we need to take the club forward. Everybody has the same ambition, we are in all of this together. But if you ask me if I know right now what do I have and how can I do it, I’m sorry but I don’t know because there are a lot of questions that we can not resolve right now with the situation we have.

One is financially and the other one is because we do not know if we are in Europe, and because we have players that we don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the reality. It’s not about sending a message, we all have the same objective which is to try to bring the club back as quickly as possible, fighting with the top teams in the country and in Europe and that’s it, and I want to do that as quickly as possible.

I don’t think you can knock a coach for pushing the club to give him funds to compete, though some obviously will. Hopefully, we’ll make Europe, that’s the first place to find some money, and if we don’t, Arteta will just have to deal with the consequences. His point about money is that it allows you to get there faster, which is an obvious statement, but one that is more important this summer because a little injection of credit could give us a lot of bang for our buck. As I said in the week, it’s new to hear an Arsenal manager fight for the football, and I welcome it. Stan K, for all his problems, is not an owner afraid to spend money, remember, Unai Emery had a higher net spend than Klopp and he was only with us for 18 months. Question is, can he afford to give the club an injection of cash when ALL sports are fucked from COVID and he’s a sports business guy? Doubtful.

Still, Madrid aren’t going on for Mbappe this summer, so if the Spanish big dogs are fucked, then he can hardly take offence at Arsenal not having a lot of cash to burn.

ALSO, I know people are uncomfortable that the manager keeps pumping players in press. I am too. Mostly because we’re unsure whether he means it. I am almost 100% sure he’s being a salesman here. He is pumping value, he is playing the reluctant seller, and you’ll see where his taste levels are at this summer when he has to move on big names.

Finally, before I go, I would ask you to all take a read of this from The Athletic. It’s a very well sourced piece about how we do business at Arsenal. I know plenty don’t believe things when they come from me, but hey, look where the mainstream media is going with something I’ve been banging the drum on for a while. If you are bored, take a read of this story about how we landed where we did. A nice compliment.

Enjoy the game, see you in the comments!

979 Responses to “Manchester City Preview: Semi-final nostalgia, pumping value, finding a better plan”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    Guns SF

    Funny enough multiple sources reporting that we’re considering a swap deal with Barcelona for Coutinho and Guendouzi…

    If it was up to me I rather would be asking Atletico Madrid for Partey in exchange for Guendouzi…

    Or if Rennes was open to the idea Camavinga for Guendouzi… anyone know how much Rennes is asking for Camavinga? I would love to see him at Arsenal…

  2. Guns of SF

    Id take Coutinho for Guen
    No brainer there.

    Get Sarr for free
    A DM would be good… although Xhaka is playing good now… I dont think he is our solution. Need an upgrade there.

  3. Sid

    Pepe drew 3 players to give Tierney the ball that led to our 2nd goal
    Him and Saka with Auba upfront, a quality CAM doing what Laca is doing, is title a challenging team.

    You heard it here 1st

  4. Sid

    Let nobody be fooled there are players in this team that cant help having a brain fart every now and then,
    they still need to leave, wont name them after yesterdays win but we had close calls.

  5. Guns of SF

    Martinez was heard saying ” hey , where the fuck are you going?” against Liverpool. Not sure who the defender was he was yelling at. I read this somewhere.

    Leno would not do that. Too polite.

    Martinez gives the feeling of power in between the sticks. He is amazing

  6. underrated Coq

    Lost heavily in a League match but put in a performance in the Cup.

    Just goes to show how much of a role pyshcology plays. 3 Cup Wins the last 6 years ensure Arsenal players go into these matches with a Champion mentality.

  7. Sid

    We havent faced aerial bombardment so far and we have been crowding our box with players
    Its premature talking of selling Leno

  8. Wasi

    Guns

    It was aimed at Luiz who wanted to go up for a corner in the final stages of the game when we were leading .

  9. Wasi

    People already on the back of Leno who has been our saviour the past 2 seasons.
    This fanbase . Smh. 🤦

  10. Gonsterous

    If ceballos adds 10kgs of muscle, guy will be unplayable. Already has quick feet, add to that strength to shield the call and we have one hell of a cm.

  11. bacaryisgod

    1. Just looked again at our first goal. From the time Xhaka got possession, 10 out of our 11 players were involved in the 18-pass move before Auba scored. Only AMN didn’t touch the ball. Phenomenal.

    2. Chelsea in the final please. Pulisic is lively but he’s no Chelsea-era Hazard yet and they are playing with less confidence than Man U right now. I’ll take a 120 minute match ending in a Chelsea penalty win.

    3. Leno/Martinez is an interesting debate. A good but tricky problem to have.

    4. Hope Ceballos hasn’t driven up his price (if Madrid sells) after his last few stellar performances.

    5. The one thing Mustafi has to change is his sense of accountability. Every time he makes a horrible error, he points to another player to blame. He did it today getting upset with Martinez after Mustafi got robbed in the penalty area.

  12. Tony

    Gons
    “If Caballos adds 10kgs of muscle….”
    Could be more difficult than you think as looking at Dani his body composition seems to be that of an ectomorph making it very difficult to add muscle and then maintain it with the amount of cardio Dani gets through during training and matches.

    We have the conditioning coaches to work it out for him and maybe they can add a lot more strength training rather than bulking up.

    When you look at guys in the SAS they are generally not the muscle bound guys you see in the movies as has be mentioned in various books written by ex SAS members.

    Mesomorphs (my composition) and endomorphs generally have fast twitch muscles and can add muscle weight quickly and maintain it better.

  13. Wasi

    Un

    I am talking about others who jumped on the Leno not good enough bandwagon yesterday.

    Lets not forget Leno was keeping for a team in chaos under Emery and Freddie.
    We were getting bombarded with 25-30 shots each game. Leno was making world class saves week in week out just to eek out draws.
    Definition agree Martinez is the Daddy in his box but Leno’s reflexes and shot stopping is on another level. Probably the best in the league. If he improves his command of the area and distribution to Martinez levels he will be Top 3 in the world.
    I’m in no way or form saying Martinez is not good .
    He’s a great player and he deserves his shot for the No.1 Shirt. I just dont want to jump any conclusions because we are conceding less goals.
    Martinez is now playing a well drilled backline and an added protection from the back 3 formation.
    Leno was left out to dry under Emery and Freddie .
    And he still saved us countless times.
    I just want to see how we do with Leno marshalling a well drilled backline. I believe he can be even better than Martinez.

    Gons
    If Ceballos gains 10kg his feet wont be so quick anymore. Also he’s already a considerably slow player and the added 10kg would further slow him down.

  14. Wasi

    Un

    To provide context Martinez faced just 2 shots on target yesterday. This was against one of if not the best attacking side in the whole world with a peak Kdb.

    In the last match against City , Leno faced 12 shots on target and made 2 or 3 world class saves just to save us from a hiding.

  15. Gonsterous

    Tony

    10kg muscle isn’t that difficult. The lad looks so skinny. He needs to add another meal to his day. If he set his mind to being a better footballer, he would know that he needs to get stronger (not necessary bulk up) and adding 10kg of muscle doesn’t effect pace, or football.
    Look at Ronaldo, he bulked up and didn’t lose his trickery or pace. If dani wants to improve he has to do it. If he doesn’t want to, he can make excuses, that his cardio drains all his protein intake.

  16. Wasi

    ‘and adding 10kg of muscle doesn’t effect pace, or football.
    Look at Ronaldo, he bulked up and didn’t lose his trickery or pace’

    10 kg of muscle massively affects football. Not your pace as much but your agility will drastically go down which is one of the strengths of Ceballos’s game.
    Ronaldo’s trickery has reduced a lot. See him in his early Man U days. He was a lot leaner and was an out and out inverted winger.
    Now he’s a Striker and doesn’t do a lot of skills and dribbling nowadays.

  17. Gonsterous

    Wasi

    You are confusing muscle to fats. Muscles don’t make you slower (unless you bulk up way to much), it actually increases your pace, especially footballers who train every day.

  18. Gonsterous

    Wasi

    Ronaldo actually stopped with trickery when he aimed to go for directness. Then he just utilised his pace, same with bale. He was a thin winger at spurs, he bulked up and now can just tear down the wing with his strength and pace.

  19. Pierre

    Arteta has shown he is adaptable and intelligent when approaching a game.

    He looked at the Liverpool and City games and thought, there is no way we can get a result by trying to outplay them .

    So he devised a way to beat them and as I said previously, it was right out of the jose Mourinho mould of management.

    How many times back in the say did we outplay Chelsea at the Emirates and have most of the possession and play into Jose’s hands.

    He would set up the Chelsea team to be compact through the middle and allow Arsenal to play the ball wide in the knowledge that they couldn’t hurt us with the ball into the box, and then hit us with the sucker punch.

    Credit to Arteta from going away from his belief of wanting to play open , expansive football against teams that are the masters of it.

    The open , expansive football for Arsenal is for another day.
    Yesterday was all about getting the result.

    Getting to cup finals and winning trophies is what it’s all about and we may just have a manager who is a winner at our club.

  20. TheLegendaryDB10

    Wasi

    I did not jump on any bandwagon re Leno vs Martinez.

    The moment I saw Martinez play when he was given his opportunity, I could tell he was the better option for us.

    I don’t care that Leno was peppered right, left and centre and made so many saves. I look at what a GK can do other than just that. Marshalling his area, catching the ball instead of spilling it, distribution etc

    Valentin and Un have put it very nicely in their posts above why Martinez is the better option.

  21. Pierre

    Un
    Leno has never inspired me with confidence as he rarely dominates his area.
    Martinez has an air of confidence about him that for a keeper who has at long last been given his chance, has taken it with both hands.

    Undroppable in my opinion.

  22. Wasi

    Un

    Leno would have saved the second goal against Brighton.
    Tho it was Emi’s first game and he was most probably a bit nervy. And I’ve already brushed it off.

    But say, if you ask me Martinez wouldn’t have made all the saves Leno made in the last City game.

    And I don’t think , we will be looking to generate funds through Leno. The sample size to judge Martinez is too small and Leno’s not had a chance to play behind a well drilled team. The competition for places is very good and Leno’s value will not drop , we’ll probably get more for him next summer than we can get in this depressed market.

    Gons
    Thats what I said. Pace not as much but agility is massively affected with increased mass.
    Ronaldo is a prime example. In his Earlier days Ronaldo’s movement was electric , with age he shaped his game focusing on scoring more goals, bulked up and traded off his superb agility for power in the box.
    I like to call Ceballos a fidget spinner and agility is one of his biggest assets.Tho I do agree he needs to add bit more strength and mass. Id say he should try to add 3-4 kg and improve his strength. This way his agility isnt much affected.

  23. Pierre

    Un
    We created the better chances in the first half but I think it is a bit much to say we outplayed them, but we wasn’t looking to outplay them , we were playing to win.

    At no time did we dominate the ball but Arteta wasn’t looking to do that, his plan worked to perfection.

    Sit deep and dont let city play between the lines and make them go wide , and it worked.

  24. Leftfootcurler

    What a sensational result and performance!

    Firstly credit to Arteta playing AMN at LWB. Mahrez is left footed,looking to cut inside onto his left foot,which is towards AMN’s right side,his more natural side.
    He performed so well that Pep took Mahrez off.
    It hurt us offensively because AMN had to cross with his weaker foot but we destroyed one of the biggest offensive weapons on City”s team.

    Sterling and Mahrez were the two players providing the penetration,keeping Mahrez in check made City a bit toothless.

    City had trouble creating chances because Sterling was the only one who could run in behind.

    Arsenal face the same problems in many games because Auba is the only one running in behind.

    Its so so important that Pepe learns to make great runs in behind like Auba does.
    If he can learn that,he will also score 20 goals in the league like Auba.

    Every player performed brilliantly.

    The Martinez vs Leno debate that is going on here:-

    The biggest positive with Martinez is his passing.
    Without his passing,we could not build up play like that.
    The first goal would not have happened with Leno in our goal.
    Leno’s passing is quite poor.

    because Arteta wants to build up play from the back,a passing GK becomes very important.
    This makes Martinez no 1.

    Martinez is not completely flawless. For Brighton’s 2nd goal,he charged out of his line which made it easier for Maupay to score.

    Should have been more careful with his movement on Son’s goal for spurs too.

    But overall especially with his passing,his impact on the game is much much greater.

  25. Wasi

    Pierre

    Its fair to say we outplayed them in the first half.
    Arteta’s plan was executed to near perfection in the first half.
    Stop Man city’s focal points
    Pounce on mistakes
    Try to hit them on the counter a la Ole and Frank.

    The only chances City got in the first half were due to our own mistakes.

  26. Gonsterous

    Un

    You’ve never seen 10kg worth of muscle have you? It feels like when I say muscle everyone is just picturing arnold Schwarzenegger built people.

    Let me put it this way, muscle is heavier than Fat that means if a person put on 10 kg of fats, it’s a big deal, but in muscle terms, it doesn’t make much difference to your physicality from a visual stand point.

    What it does do is make you stronger and more confident. Do the marines look low on agility and they weigh more in muscle than dani would if he added the 10kilo of muscle. His agility and quick feet would stay but other aspects of his game would improve.

    Look at santi, for another example. He’s shorter than dani, has quicker feet and agility but he’s looks chubby. Why can santi do with in his body but everyone is terrified that if dani adds 10kg of muscle all his agility and movement is compromised.

  27. Wasi

    Gons

    10 kg muscle makes a lot of difference from a visual standpoint. I know because I am a living example.

  28. Gonsterous

    Wasi

    It makes a difference but not as much as has been discussed here. 10 kg of muscle would do next to nothing to your agility, maybe going beyond that would slightly start to effect it, but when a person is skinny (like dani) and he adds the muscle it would actually benefit him. Muscles are not just for strength, it’s for agility too.

  29. China1

    Gonsterous I don’t think that’s a problem I think it’s a good thing if he plays that well

    But anyway I don’t think you would expect santi to play 2 games a week every week in his mid 30s. Even in a best case scenario he’d be very much rotational. But when he’s fit and fresh he’d be a really useful player at basically no cost to the club.

    If we got sarr and cazorla on a free and focused our resources at a great DM/b2b that would be a really savy bit of dealing imo

  30. Gonsterous

    Un

    Anyway it’s a bit of a dud debate on a morning like this. The feel good factor is far too high to go down a rabbit hole on Ceballos putting on 10kg

    Yah, I agree. Also the debate is hypothetical so no point ruining the day over something that’s possibly not going to happen.
    Though, it was meant as a suggestion for improvement.

    If he costs us 15-20m it’ll be a good buy.

  31. Gonsterous

    Wasi

    I’ve actually put about 4-5 kg of muscle in the last year , and I don’t feel any difference. Though I don’t know how agile I must be, since the only agile thing I do is run to the bathroom and I’m petty quick then.

    The diets the difficult part, but if I was a footballer millionaire, I wouldn’t have so much trouble with it.

  32. Leedsgunner

    Forget about Coutinho, why not approach West Ham for Declan Rice in exchange for Guendouzi?

    Have a look at Declan Rice’s performance on MOTD versus Watford, it was outstanding… and his goal was a contender for the goal of the season, a fantastic strike!

  33. Gentlebris

    ‘Spent 6 months listening to people use ‘sauce’ as a weapon against me.Great to see people can taste the zing.’

    Sir P breakdancing!

    Rightly so though.

    Knee jerk and all, but Mikel looked wicked on the sideline yesterday.

    If he can improve his in game management, I’m willing to forget his inexperience.

    You don’t do Citey upon Liverpool and not get the respect.

    If he wins this cup, I’m gonna drop all charges.

  34. Leftfootcurler

    It would be a disservice to Arteta to say he simply defended deep and counter attacked.

    Arteta is a very complete coach who wants to dominate all phases of the game.

    We tried to build up from the back.
    No team who wants to defend deep wants to keep possession and build up with the ball.
    They generally go long to outlets and win fouls up the pitch, to help get up the pitch.

    Also when Man City were building from the back,we pressed high,tried to win the ball high up the pitch.
    Another thing that a team wanting to defend deep never does.

    When City managed to break through our press,we then defended deep in a well organised shape.

    Arteta wants us to be a complete team.
    He wants us to press high and win the ball high up the pitch and counter from there.

    If the opponent plays through our press,we retreat to defend in a mid block.
    The defence line was too deep. It was not part of the plan. We simply succumbed to the pressure City were putting on us.
    If the defence line was 5 yards ahead of the penalty box,City would have looked far less dangerous.

    We like to build up play in our own half and progress up the pitch with the ball.

    We are also happy to play quick passes to counter.

    Arteta is a superb coach who can coach all these different aspects of the game very well.

    No other coach in history has done this.
    Most coaches can only certain aspects of the game well.
    Its very unique in the history of football.

    Lets enjoy the result but lets not go too overboard.

    This is not a top 4 squad.

    Its the 7 th best squad in the league.

    Arteta is doing a great job.

    Not many coaches would do better.

    Maybe Nuno,Conte,Allegri…that’s it.

    Pep,Klopp,Simeone,Poch would all do worse.

  35. Pierre

    Not every player who are skinny and 10 stone are a wimp like Ozil.

    Going back a few years , Johny Giles of Leeds was as hard as nails and he wa 4ft nothing.

  36. Pierre

    So , are we all in agreement tha good coaching improves players.

    There were/are many on here who said our players were uncoachable..

  37. Tony

    Gons
    I’m not going tonged into a long drawn out convo over this but I think you’re missing the point from me and Un.

    If I remember correctly Un used to box and play football so will have a good understand about footwork, agility etc.

    I’ve regularly trained in gyms whereever I was in the world for the last 40+ years. I also have a state of the art gym a my house where I train at least 4 days a week.

    Currently, at the age of 64, I have just dropped 20kg of fat and added 15kg of muscle, so I have an idea about the subject. My wife is an ectomorph who wants to add about 5kg of muscle and my son aged nearly 12 is a mesomorph who I am training and guiding him through diet especially macro nutrients ratios for his muscle gains’ targets he sets himself.

    My son does kick boxing, Tae Keon Do and badminton as his sports of choice.

    Body composition and bone structure dictates one’s ability to add muscle and resulting agility.

    I’m around 175 cm so who I’m around 90kg with about 10 to 12% body fat my kick boxing becomes laboured compared to 75 to 80kg at the aforementioned body fat ratio. Sure I can punch harder but my feet movement at the heavier weight is slower to hit their targets.

    On this topic I’m with UN, a rarity I know, Dani need better strength training, especially core strength whilst maintaining his fleet of foot speeds.

    Dani has been with us for long enough for the club’s conditioning coaches to decide what’s best for him where he has lost a little weight rather than gaining it.

    Probably where we do agrees I rate Dani highly where with the right players around him he will become even more creative for the club as he is doing now.

    Ceballos played around 46+ times for RM and has age on his side to improve; let’s hope it is with us.

  38. China1

    The other cool thing about santi is he can contribute anywhere across the midfield.

    He’s not a DM but is better at the deep lying playmaker type role than Xhaka. He can do b2b easily and play a Ceballos role, he can also do a 10 role much better than Mesut these days

  39. underrated Coq

    “No other coach in history has done this.
    Most coaches can only certain aspects of the game well. Its very unique in the history of football.”

    Looks like someone does not watch much football outside Arsenal

  40. Gentlebris

    ‘The defence line was too deep. It was not part of the plan. We simply succumbed to the pressure City were putting on us.
    If the defence line was 5 yards ahead of the penalty box,City would have looked far less dangerous.’

    You can’t be more wrong.

    The deep block was exactly the plan and it exactly denied Sterling any space to run into. It also denied Citey their double row attack where a simple cutback is all they need to score.

    It was a very beautiful and effective plan.

    In how many other games Citey didn’t have more than one shot on target?

  41. Northbanker

    What a day yesterday. Started with a house in France that i own and jut put on the market 24 hours if that earlier. Got 2 viewings and second offered the full asking price. Ok I know not of interest to anyone else but was a great moment for me!

    Then we knock City out quite convincingly with a great defence. Follows up a magnificent achievement v Liverpool.

    Now I hear Santi rejoining on this good news day. Love the idea as that takes us forward in the creativity dept – something we definitely need to work on. I hope he becomes MAs no 1 coach as it will be a formidable team

  42. Sid

    Mesomorph, rotary club, Roon Nucleus, kids with multiple majors, wife with a company

    these are the things i want when i grow up

  43. Gentlebris

    ‘What a day yesterday. Started with a house in France that i own and jut put on the market 24 hours if that earlier. Got 2 viewings and second offered the full asking price. Ok I know not of interest to anyone else but was a great moment for me!’

    Good that you got the full asking price in a time like this…crisp business, but that’s if your asking price was not already rock bottom.

  44. Northbanker

    Un

    230k for 3 bed house we built nt Perpignan. Still have a 4 bedder with pool there that we’ll live in 1/2 year when I stop working. I have toured France a lot but would really recommend Languedoc- Rousiillon as an area as much cheaper than. Cote dAzur with same great weather. We’re quite close to Spanish border (2.5 hours from Barcelona) and the Pyrenees so have beach and skiing within 1/2 To an hour.

    French property law very different from UK so best to take time to consider this more. We rent both properties (or did) but don’t trust Macron and his tax system so reducing our post Brexit risk although not completely withdrawing.

  45. Northbanker

    Forget all the cheaper properties in the middle Of France as there hard to shift and winters are cold !

  46. Graham62

    What a lovely spectacle that was last night. Just a shame there was no one around to witness it. Just didn’t seem right seeing Wembley empty.

    Every single Arsenal player stepped up to the plate. Credit where credits due, David Luiz was frigging brilliant.

    Kudos to Arteta for getting the tactics spot on. Nullifying MC is not easy to do, but he managed it.

    AMN deserves a special mention. Best ever game in an Arsenal shirt. Tierney was also superb, as was Bellerin( except for that suicidal pass)

    By hook or by crook, got to keep Auba.

    Martinez is so much better than Leno. Sorry, but he is.

    Hope it’s going to be Chelski but I’ve a feeling it’ll be MU.

  47. Emiratesstroller

    Un na naii

    Arsenal are currently not a top 4 team as you suggest, BUT they are now exceedingly difficult to beat AND our strike force are back to scoring goals.

    Arteta made it clear after our victory against Liverpool that there is a huge gulf in class between Arsenal and the Champions.

    The club has found a formation which works well against better teams i.e. 3-4-3. My personal view is that it suits the Centre Backs, because they are prone to
    making mistakes. However, we need to find replacement for both Tierney and
    Kolasinac in LCB position. Tierney should be playing LWB.

    Second I would prefer to play 4-3-3 in matches against weaker opposition where we should be dominating the opposition and controlling the midfield.
    We know that we have been weak in this department all season and it is frankly the department where we need to recruit new players.

    Whatever acquisitions are now made this summer should in my view focus on
    this department of the team.

  48. Northbanker

    Gentle – no real growth in France for prices – ones i invested in in the UK have not knocked spots off those but in 2003 when we built them it was a different era. House wasn’t that great and i wouldn’t pay more than that for it as a buyer. Happy to be rid.

  49. Graham62

    All Arsenal fans should rejoice this morning.

    That was the first time for many a long time that I’ve seen Arsenal play like that.

    Defensively organised ffs!

    Was that Adams, Dixon, Winterburn and Bould at the back?

    Covid-19 aside, let’s all unite and agree that last night was a major step forward for Arsenal Football Club.

    ❤️👍👏❤️

  50. Leftfootcurler

    Un Unai

    Its not a top 4 squad.
    Its a 60 point team.
    Last season we finished with 70 points because Auba and Laca were very clincal with the limited chances they got.

    We mostly compete in all games and create limited chances.
    Whatever result we get is by fine margins.
    Win/Lose by fine margins.

    To be a top 4 team,we need to start beating rubbish teams consistently again.

    A top 4 team means a 75 points team.
    Arsenal are not that good a squad yet.

  51. Northbanker

    Exactly where we are in real terms is hard to say but what MA has achieved from such a shite start in incredible. Sure the table position hasn’t improved although beat Villa and Watford and we could still end up 6th I think.

    But it is the solidity that has been dramatically changed. Put in a couple of flair / power players in midfield and we’re smoking
    Gutted about Gabby though

  52. Jamie

    I think Tierney is going to be a superstar. So much talent and reads the game so well.

    I also love Luiz’ post-match interview.

    Feeling great this morning! The mrs a little worn out from last night, if you catch my drift.

  53. Northbanker

    Un – anything becomes possible in the post Corona world. I’m a lot older than you but looking to give up my accountant role and become a writer. Can then work anywhere but fortunately won’t be relying on it to survive

    We will use the French house As a base to keep moving around the Med. Maybe house sit too. Relies on my two boys leaving home but we’re close to that now .

  54. Leftfootcurler

    Underrated Coq.

    There are 3 types of coaches.
    1)Possession coaches
    2)Counter attacking coaches
    3)Pressing coaches

    1)Possession coaches
    Includes Coaches like Pep,Paco Jemez,Gasperini.
    They don’t defend in a good settled shape.
    They press well to win the ball back quickly and defend by keeping the ball.
    They don’t defend well in a block.

    2) Counter attacking coaches

    These coaches struggle against deep block.
    They typically solve issues against a deep block by buying appropriate players.
    Jose,Allegri,Conte all do this.

    3)Pressing coaches
    These coaches struggle when you give them the ball and ask to create chances with the ball.
    These coaches prefer to create via pressing.
    Klopp,Hasenhuttl etc.

    These managers also struggle to score against a low block
    And many such teams tire out in the last quarter of the game.

    Klopp solved this issue by getting two of the best crossers in the league at FBs and by buying athletic monsters who win all duels and 2nd balls.

    Arteta can coach a strong structure in possession,Defending in a block and pressing high,all of them to a high level.

    Its not seen before.

  55. Jamie

    Without an EU passport, UK citizens will most likely be restricted to 3 months in the EU, followed by 3 months out (back in the UK).

    You won’t be able to spend 6 months travelling the EU in one shot any more.

  56. Emiratesstroller

    Un na naii

    The point I am making is that Arsenal need to develop a tactical game, which
    adapts to the opposition we play.

    Clearly we need to make life difficult against teams like Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea.

    However, we need to be in a position where we control games and are able to
    kill off weaker teams in a clinical fashion. Currently I am not sure that we are
    in that situation. Let’s see how we play and perform against Watford and Aston Villa in next two games.

  57. Pierre

    As well as AMN played defensively, he was poor in the final third.
    4 or 5 times he had time and space to find the killer ball, and each time he failed.

    To his credit , he was trying the early ball with his weaker left foot, he could easily have taken the easier option and cut back and used his right but the space in the box for the attackers would have been closed.

    Saka in the same position would have undoubtedly found a team mate open in the box.
    Of course, he may have struggled defensively so ultimately Arteta made the right decision.

    I would imagine that Saka would be brought back into the side for the villa and watford games as his delivery could make the difference.

  58. Wasi

    ‘I’ve actually put about 4-5 kg of muscle in the last year , and I don’t feel any difference. Though I don’t know how agile I must be, since the only agile thing I do is run to the bathroom and I’m petty quick then.’

    This 😂

  59. Ishola70

    Leftfootcurler

    Virtually all teams now press the opposition goalkeeper on occasions because managers see how many goals can come from it.

    Man City pressed Arsenal for the first 15 minutes or so but faded in that respect soon after because they are not as good as Liverpool in this aspect of the match.

    You seem to be ashamed at the Arsenal tactic of defend deep and counter last night if you are in denial about it. You shouldn’t be ashamed. Man City are a better team and it was a tactic to beat them and the tactic was carried out very well.

    Nothing to be ashamed of.

  60. Leftfootcurler

    Un Unai

    Nah.
    You are expecting Laca to be super clinical like last season.
    Most strikers can’t keep overperforming.

    Emery was lucky last season to finish with about 10 points more due to outstanding finishing.

    We have to create at a much higher rate.

    We may have been top 4 this season due to other teams being poor.
    That’s different.
    Its depending on other teams being bad.

    But we can’t keep getting 75 points with this squad.

    Some games,defenders will make stupid mistakes.
    Some games,attackers will fluff their lines.

    Even the City game,we made 2 mistakes where we gave the ball in our own half
    once,when Ceballos got caught on the ball and second,bellerin’s silly square pass in the first half.

    We could have made much much more.

    We made so many stupid errors against spurs under ZERO pressure.

    So most games are games of fine margin.
    We have defenders who make plenty of mistakes.
    We don’t create lots of chances.

    Its not a stretch to say that to win 2 points per game with such characteristics in the squad is not sustainable.

    Its not a top 4 squad if you can’t get 75 points without depending on a lot of luck.
    We have to make a few signings.

  61. Jamie

    Un –

    “Unless you hold and EU passport. And that’s only until the EU disbands”

    I do, and sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the EU/Schengen isn’t disbanding any time soon.

    Don’t you have Irish ancestry? Apply for citizenship!

  62. Pierre

    Ashley Cole was very complimentary of Tierney the other night.

    I think he sees a little of himself in Tierney.

    Smells danger , positionally correct, very good offensively and defensively, great attitude and a winner.

  63. Leftfootcurler

    Ishola

    Nope.
    When the defence line drops too deep,the opposition gets access to the edge of the penalty box.
    They can dribble,turn,take a shot and combine on the edge of the box.

    If the defence line is a few yards higher,those things can’t happen.

    Its literally the reason why Liverpool suddenly improved defensively when VVD was bought.

    He kept the defence line high,preventing the opposition attackers to access the edge of the penalty box easily.

    I am not ashamed of deep defending lol.
    But you are mistaken if you think Arteta wants our shit defenders to constantly defend on the edge of the box.

    Defence line dropping too deep is the biggest reason we conceded so many shots under Emery.

    As for teams pressing the GKs,nope ,not all teams do it.
    And teams that do,mostly don’t defend well in a block.

    They try to win the ball high up the pitch and attack quickly.

    But if you play through their press,they don’t defend in a block well.

  64. Ishola70

    The question for Man City will now be can they bridge the gap to Liverpool in next seasons EPL.

    Atm it looks as if Liverpool will win the EPL next season as well.

    It could be a case in the future that Man City will have a better chance of winning the CL rather than EPL just like this season if they don’t tweak some of their play.

    Liverpool’s style of play and personnel playing it is better suited to a 38 game EPL campaign now than Manchester City.

  65. Ishola70

    You are on some good shit there leftfootcurler if you think Arteta played a high line defence last night.

    Some real good shit.

  66. Valentin

    Ceballos could do with an extra 3 kg of muscle, but more will affect his stamina, his agility and his explosivity. He may look skinny, but in order to perform at that level he is already in top physical condition.
    When Henry joined Arsenal, Wenger ordered him to lose some weight. The extra weight that he put on in Italy was restricting his explosivity. He could not get away from defenders on the first 5 meters.

    Unless you are fat, Putting 10kg of muscle is a huge undertaking.
    If you are already a professional athlete, it requires a extremely strict training and diet regime. Hence boxers going up in 2 categories have 12 weeks training. In the long run unless you spend a minimum of 2 hrs per day weight lifting such regime is not sustainable.

  67. Leedsgunner

    For those you thinking 10kg extra will help you to become faster put a 10kg weight belt on and try to sprint your normal 100m in your usual time.

    Extra muscle will make you harder to move off the ball… it will do nothing for your overall speed. Extra muscle in thighs, quads and legs might improve your acceleration but again that’s different from speed.

  68. Henry Root

    Interesting that some of the more vociferous posters on here when things Go badly are notable by their absence when things go well. I write that as if it is a bad thing but it saves Arsenal fans who are basically keen to see their team progress from reading a lot of shite .
    Anyone trying to claim that Arteta is a novice who is out of his depth would be laughed at on the evidence of his first seven months . Long may they remain away if they continue to chip away at the club in a negative way