ARTETA MATURITY TEST AWAITS

by .

Arsenal vs Manchester City hasn’t seen a win go the way of the red & white in 12 straight games. Not even a draw. We are extremely bad when it comes to City.

There’s no way of getting around it. We’re damaged goods psychologically when we see that lighter shade of blue line up against us. Now we’re the second-best team in the league, that quirk has to change. Losing twice to City last season cost us the league. If we want to be in with a sniff this time around, losing to them like that again cannot be on the cards.

There are some advantages for this game. KDB is definitely out; he can’t haunt us with his magic tomorrow. Rodri is suspended, there can be no magical horse-placenta-induced return for him. John Stones is ‘unavailable’ but we all know that’s Pep playing games, he was on the bench for Leipzig and didn’t play a minute, but that means very little. My hope is he’s rusty at the very least.

Arsenal have some problems they are dealing with.

Bukyao Saka is the biggest story. He’s on his 3rd injury in two weeks, best case scenario is the pull-up against RC Lens was fatigue-induced, and if that’s the case, he’ll very much be in the redzone. Arsenal have let England know they are still monitoring things and there will be a late test. I’m not sure I believe that for a minute. We’re 8 games into the season, rolling out our best player and subjecting him to the risk of aggravating an injury we’ve all seen would be beyond the pale of dimness. Arteta cannot possibly flirt with his starboy exiting the squad for 3 months.

The only thing that panics me there is he was clearly pushing for Saliba to play at the end of the last season. This is slightly different, we were chasing immortality then, we’re not quite there right now. Context is key here. The only reason Saka plays tomorrow is sheer ego – because I can’t imagine any medical/performance pro is looking at the last two weeks of Saka recommending he start – especially knowing the consequence of that is either an injury or a trip away with Gareth Southgate on international duty. I just can’t buy that we’d be able to play him tomorrow and negotiate him away from England. That would set a terrible precedent for Southgate.

There’s also the PR… fans will lose their minds if Arteta breaks a player because of his Pep G daddy issues.

We also have some other players teetering on the cusp I’m not so worried about. Thomas Partey will most certainly be ready to start if Arteta wants to roll with a double pivot. The idea of having Partey AND Rice will be intoxicating for him and I’d imagine Thomas will want to show the world what he can do against top opposition.

I’m also expecting to see Martinelli available and Trossard ready to start.

The major question for me is: How do we want to play?

Most teams success against City comes from playing a deepblock and hitting them in transition.

Arsenal don’t have deepblock in their new DNA. But we have the personnel to play that way this season. Kai Havertz hasn’t had a hero game yet, but wouldn’t it be fitting if he did playing as a loan striker? He gives us the physical edge we’ve lacked in important games, he can hold the ball up, he’s good a linking play, and I’d imagine his big game nature might be suited to this one.

This is also a huge one for David Raya. His start has been decent, but not wild yet. He will be the busiest he’s been all season against City. He needs to be switched on, his passing needs to be electric, and we cannot see any gaffs. The Ramsdalians will be watching closely.

Home games aren’t our best. The players try and go for the game too early on. There’s no patience. We have been prone to rolling out the dumb.

The key to City is don’t lose… the key to don’t lose is patience.

We need to be on our game tomorrow in a way we haven’t really seen this so far this season. The passing needs to click, players need to step up, and we need to offer up some serious clinicality.

I’m not sure what to think about the game – I’m intrigued more than anything else. Arteta is the most interesting character of the day.

Can he contain his ego when going up against his sporting Daddy?

Can he offer up Pep a true surprise with his tactics?

Can he contain his emotions and keep the players feeling relaxed?

Can he motivate his players to believe that they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best?

We’ll learn a lot tomorrow – don’t lose is the key message. Don’t do anything dumb is the underlying one.

Let’s see where we land.

Also, check out our latest content below! We have an elite before the whistle – and Johnny spent some time with a City fan. Eat them up today! x

We also have a great free-to-air Manchester City fan interview.

1,181 Responses to “ARTETA MATURITY TEST AWAITS”

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  1. Dissenter

    Nigel
    Everyone who’s every bothered to offer opinions here has been wrong ….before , so not sure about your stupid ‘loudest is dumbest’ comment
    Like Pierre said, you are the loudest of all which is surprising because you’re doing it while you’re crying rivers about people being haters.
    In the spring, I was talking about us signing a midfielder that was affordable like Zubimendi who had a release clause. It was about having enough fund to plug all the holes in the squad.
    Soon afterwards I became pragmatically supportive of the Rice signing, on the persuasions of of posters that I respect like Habesha and Mikel Coneteta. Habesha wrote lots about him. It was also obvious that was what was going to happen anyway.
    I still believe that as excellent as Rice has been, he’s still growing into the position the way Arteta wants it——which is why he’s improving with every game.

  2. raptora

    Mikel Arteta on David Raya’s performance v Man City:

    “I think he was excellent. He can misplace one or two passes.

    “I demand him to stop the ball when he needs to, to get clarity, to get understanding, to provoke the opponent.

    “Overall, the way he controlled the box, the aerials, how dominant he was, how high he played; I thought he was excellent.

    “I love players with big courage, and David certainly has [that].”
    ____________________________________________

    Sounds like it’s settled already and curtains for Rams.

  3. Nigel Tufnel

    Bacary,

    The lineup you want, is exactly what Arteta had in mind for big opponents this season, but we started the season with no Zinchenko, then lost Timber. His 3rd choice lineup against weaker teams had Partey inverted at FB to get us more control and chances against packed midfields and boxes.
    Havertz at 8 was planned for those games too, for more attacking MF, as this will be the majority of our opponents tactics.

    Rice will play a bit of 8, and Partey will get some rest in general when all are fit.

  4. Marko

    William Saliba will NOT be joining the French team as he will recover from a toe injury. Reports,
    @equipedefrance

    Huge rest for Saliba and Saka

  5. Un

    Pierre
    Jesus is great wherever he’s played
    Unfortunately Eddie is a fucking waste of space
    Can’t believe tour take on raya
    He was our weak link
    You’re on a wind up surely

  6. Nigel Tufnel

    Dissenter,

    I’d understand all of that if you weren’t constantly ripping a lot of our moves…

    Also… Declan Rice improving with every game?
    …Come on… since week 2 he’s fit like a glove. Even I’m surprised how quickly he adapted.
    Don’t try to shade it like he’s still striving to justify the price.

    It was a giant win for Arteta and Edu from the minute he signed. Admit it.
    Your record is poor. Just own it.

    And yes.. I’m still saying Havertz will be great for us, even at the price…. so I’m the only one out on that limb. Remember that in a year or two.

  7. Matt B

    Thought Raya was abysmal first half and most the fans around me in North Bank felt the same. An okay second half but ffs, let’s not rewrite history, he was shite. Like watching Leno under Unai Emery.

    Yes, he was good second half, but he’s made quite a few mistakes and he’s only had a handful of games.

  8. WengerEagle

    It was curtains for Ramsdale the moment that we shelled out for Raya in the summer.

    You don’t pay that much for a no.2, clearly Arteta had his eye on upgrading the GK spot (whether Raya actually is an upgrade, time will tell).

  9. salparadisenyc

    Rice fitting into the 6 was a sure thing, today was pivotal as he spent 2nd half in Xhaka’s role or more left 8ing proper box to box. Not lost on me we looked as settled as we did with that mid field. Easy to forget what a Cadillac Partey is add physicality of Rice with that we can just own sides.

    Added bonus was Kai looking dangerous in the #9 thats where he’s going have biggest effect playing up top.

  10. bacaryisgod

    Nigel

    Exactly right. Tbh, I had totally forgotten about Timber (poor guy) but he would certainly have been knocking on the door for a starting spot.

  11. S23

    Fantastic result,fairly drab game-as both teams respected each other and knew it was a game of fine margins.
    Raya was awful in the first half,Saliba and Gabriel were superb,alongside Rice and White.
    Saliba is the closest I have seen to Rio Ferdinand.
    The substitutions were superb,Partey made a big difference,Tomiyasu key in the goal,Havertz lay off was ok,Martinelli is one of our best players.
    So happy with that 3 points,now to keep Saka away from England and a lovely rest to get himself fit.

  12. Johng

    Important win today for the team in terms of another mentality hurdle taken in their stride.
    Really good to see us close the game out after we scored. None of that heart in mouth stuff that they can put us through. Some fantastic performances again by the usual suspects.

  13. raptora

    We’ve added physicality to the side, something we’ve been begging for for many years.
    The likes of Gabriel, Saliba, Rice, Partey, White, Havertz. Jesus is also a tough guy. We also have Tomi and Kiwior. Some powerful boys in there.

    It wasn’t too different back in the day with our defenders and midfielders being tall. This City team is also super physical. Mou’s Chavs as well.

    Can’t be a top dog in the PL without having steel and physical domination.

    I love Wenger’s teams – the ones with Cesc, Rosicky, Hleb, RvP, Adebayor and then Nasri and Arshavin. Also the team with Santi, Alexis, Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott. But it feels like the missing ingredient was always the steel, the power, the physicality. Just two players to dominate the defence and the midfield would have made us champions multiple times.

    We’ve got them now in Saliba, Gabriel, Rice and Partey. Hopefully we manage to realize the potential of this team.

  14. Pierre

    Un
    The difference between me and you is I say it as it is but you are stuck on agendas، so whatever Raya does from now on will be “shit”، just like whatever Gabriel does is “shit” and whatever Eddie does is “shit”…

  15. Pierre

    Un
    Mikel Arteta on David Raya’s performance v Man City:looks like he agrees with me or do you think he’s on a wind up.

    “I think he was excellent. He can misplace one or two passes.“I demand him to stop the ball when he needs to, to get clarity, to get understanding, to provoke the opponent.“Overall, the way he controlled the box, the aerials, how dominant he was, how high he played; I thought he was excellent.“I love players with big courage, and David certainly has [that].”

  16. Nigel Tufnel

    Dissenter,

    One last thing I forgot…

    How can you or anyone have been suggesting Zubimendi, considering that none of you have barely seen him play 15 minutes.

    Don’t any of you be dishonest and tell me you’ve been watching a lot of Real Sociedead. None of you have.

    He was linked in rumours, and that was enough for grovers to throw his name out there.

    Same as Aouar. The screeching that went on here because we never bid for him. It was all a fiction by the selling club because we showed a little interest.

    On legrieve he became this potential world class answer to all Arsenals problems. Ignoring the fact that he has a bad attitude and hangs out with miscreants. Where is he now?

    Were you calling for him? I wish I could look up old posts.

  17. salparadisenyc

    “Don’t any of you be dishonest and tell me you’ve been watching a lot of Real Sociedead. None of you have.”

    Speak for yourself mate quite a few Sociedad supporters in these walls, myself included. ESPN+ weirdly quite good with La Liga fixtures.

  18. TheLegendaryDB10

    Felt nice rewatching the MoTD2 highlights.

    I had this game finishing on a draw which i would have found great considering our midweek loss to Lens.

    But we have to thank Ake’s cheek for helping us get that goal.

    For me Ederson was going to save Martinelli’s shot on goal. That cheek helped make history!!

    Really happy that we finally got one over Man Cheatty in the EPL.

  19. Mysticleaves

    My voice. Still not back yet. I fucking lost my voice. But I don’t care. We fucking won city. Just came back from a mini party. Watched it in a pub with my guys with the Arsenal jersey on. Big balls from me eh. Was ready to soak in all the trolls. But fate had a different proposition. Feels so exciting to finally win city. Not even sure we were under fire for any time in the match. City was pretty toothless and we made them so.

    Spot on tactics from Arteta today. Didn’t go gung-ho. Dully responded for once to the match and not pander to his Galaxy brain. When pep made the changes and brought Doku to face Zinch, I was screaming off my head for TT and Partey to come in. Less than 10 minutes later goes who comes on? TT and fucking Partey. From that point on, City couldn’t touch us. I couldn’t believe it. Arteta listened to the match!!

    Oh, I have missed Partey.

  20. Bankz

    Huge huge 3 points for us today.
    Psychologically and in terms of our credentials as title contenders, we needed to conquer City at the Emirates.
    Go for a point or 3 at the Etihad next year.
    Beat Chelsea home and away and try to get at least 3 points off Liverpool.
    Don’t allow anybody tell you that to become champions, you don’t need to take points off your fellow contenders especially the main Goliath(man city).
    I’ve never wanted any player not to play a game, the way I’ve prayed for Saka to miss out on our games for over 3 weeks now.
    He is in need of dire recuperation and if this injury will afford him to get that in the next 2 weeks then that’s my prayers answered.
    Playing with a fatigued Saka while risking a long term injury is a stupid gamble.
    We need him for the run in.

  21. Bankz

    This is one of the most tactical game we’ve played all season, why are people saying it was boring?
    Lol.
    It was pure game of chess and Arteta got it absolutely spot on with his 4 subs.
    They all combined for the goal.

  22. Guns of SF

    TBH, I hope that Mike can see Eddie aint it. If Kai needs to take that spot then let it happen for now. I think Eddie has had enough minutes this season to now justify being dropped and upgraded on.

    The work rate from Rice and Jesus and Ode was impressive. Non stop running. These guys must be give at least 2 days off

    With KDB and Rodri it will be harder, hopefully Saka can help negate that a bit

  23. Vieira

    Let’s enjoy today and wish this will be the start of the rebirth of the greatest team the world has ever seen. Saka rested, Salina rested, trossard rested great bonus too, the future is bright, Havertz has contributed significantly, Partey is fit, Rice is sofar the sighting of the season, what a great time to be a Gunner!!!and still ESR to come!!!

  24. Kpankulu

    Something eminently powder puff about Trossard, can see why he doesn’t make the starting XI even if he’s usually good in the box. Lacks dynamism and we’re a team that already lacks it in forward areas. [@Mikel Coneteta]

    Shhhh. Notice how quiet the people screaming loudest for Trossard to start usually are when he plays and underwhelms? He is a very good player – but we are not watching the training sessions to determine who gets picked!!!

  25. Northbanker

    Just got back from a night out in pub. Woui sooner have been at the stadium but it is what it is

    What a game – tactics that suited the game

    On we go – the crisis continues!

    What a time to be a Gooner

  26. DaveB666

    Great day to be a Gooner.

    Raya was very concerning.- thought he was brought in for his distribution – he looked terrified with the ball at his feet.

    Declan Rice worth every penny of the 105 million.

    Birthday boy Benny Blanco worth every penny of the 50 million.

    The trajectory of the squad, manager, performances are all good.

    COYG!

  27. Nigel Tufnel

    2 wins against City this season and our guys must feel like they can take them on at their own level.
    We are the only team that has made them react the way they did today. Frustrated in attack, and even rattled after the goal went in. Outplayed in the second half.

    They remember the community shield very clearly, and now played evenly by a team… their nearest rivals, is a rude awakening.
    Usually when City drop points its because of lots of missed chances but still dominating the games. No domination against us anymore. This was a long time coming. No ref bailout, even though they got the usual ref blessing to save Kovacic from red. We overcame the bribery advantage.

    Now that we know refs are working in the middle east… so plenty of ways to reward them when they’re away from home… not just money.

  28. Mikel Coneteta

    Declan Rice isn’t getting every detail of his game pulled apart on here, that’s how you know he’s doing exactly as billed.

    Said it last season and got laughed out the room, but he’s precisely what Partey isn’t for us – legs, power, toughness, mentality, defensive nous. He doesn’t go missing.

    Still think we’re shy a forward player from what we saw today. Eddie has had enough said about him, he’s not at the level. But Trossard is showing his ceiling as far as I’m concerned and I’m not sure he’s much more than a squad player that have purple patches.

    Pedro Neto has been devastating so far and he’d be exactly the sort of player you’d hope we were bringing in we’re either of Saka/Martinelli out the lineup. Then big Ivan Toney is an obvious one.

  29. GD4

    “The loudest is the dumbest”

    Imagine the nerve of someone who is only loud about the opinions of those who have the courage to post in game, while the thing cowers like a turd, until the game ends and then develops the courage to talk about the opinions of others….
    Can’t make this ish up.

  30. China1

    Kpankulu

    ‘ we are not watching the training sessions to determine who gets picked!!!’

    Based on this logic I hope you never have any opinions on which players should start ever again because you’re not watching training…

  31. Kpankulu

    China1: Don’t waste your breath.

    I have never offered opinions who should start a game – feel free to check.

    I prefer to goi by whoever the gaffer picks [whether I like him or not] – after all, he is the one being paid and fired if performances do not take. People have the right to have opinions…or not. Fin.

  32. China1

    ‘ I have never offered opinions who should start a game – feel free to check.’

    I have never offered an opinion is very different from I’ve never had an opinion

    So when any manager picks any player you assume they’ve always picked the smartest possible lineup?

    Even tho said managers get sacked left right and Centre for underachieving – and their team selections may have been a part of it?

    And why stop at team selections – might as well have no opinions on tactics, transfers, substitutions, player management and literally everything else because all of them equally fall under the ‘it’s up to the manager’ umbrella.

    So when we were on fire conceding 200 shots a game before Emery got sacked, I assume you had absolutely no opinions about that…?

  33. Kpankulu

    @China1: Unlike you and others here, I don’t offer opinions online about EVERYTHING going on at Arsenal – I would have a mental breakdown. My choice.

    You get it, or you don’t. Fin.

  34. Tom

    “Said it last season and got laughed out the room, but he’s precisely what Partey isn’t for us – legs, power, toughness, mentality, defensive nous. He doesn’t go missing.”

    I dont know. Pulled himself out of the most important game of the season( second half), according to some, with a non injury injury.
    Arteta thought he was a bit of a pussy about it.

  35. Tom

    “Unlike you and others here, I don’t offer opinions online about EVERYTHING going on at Arsenal – I would have a mental breakdown. ”

    How about covid, wokeness?
    Still nothing?
    Damn, Kpankulu, you’re clearly on the wrong blog buddy.

  36. China1

    You don’t share opinions about players and tactics on an arsenal blog because that would give you a mental breakdown, but you do give negative opinions about those who do…

    You’re right, I don’t get it. It’s also a very convenient way to never appear wrong by committing to any viewpoint

    Meanwhile re your trossard comment, I was loudly calling for him to play. He didn’t play very well, so thankfully got yanked for Martinelli who was way better. Why would I or anyone else be in hiding about wanting a player who has been one of our best attacking threats to start a game when we were missing two of them (saka and Martinelli)

  37. jwl

    I didn’t notice until till just now that there was some argy bargy between our coach Jover and walker Haaland and none of our coaches or players really responded. We need Xhaka back apparently, I appreciated how he would always wade in when someone was taking liberties with his teammates, I was disappointed watching non-reaction today.

    Love Saliba, he been my fav since his first match last season, he announced himself to world with that performance today and everyone watching. We fell of cliff when he got injured and now he returned we way more settled at back again.

  38. Mysticleaves

    Kpankulu

    Seems like you already had a mental breakdown cos you can’t stop talking about what people think. Very weird

  39. jwl

    Here Arteta on:

    Saka – “No, he could not make it, he hasn’t had a single training session so he will be out,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference. “He’s not available to play football at the moment.”

    Trossard/Marti – “He’s been saying for a few weeks I’m going to be there against City and obviously everybody was saying, ‘Gabi it will be too early for you’. “Yesterday, he said, ‘Boss, I told you I’m going to be ready for this.’ And it happened that Leo [Trossard] after 30 minutes he felt something in his hamstring. So when I turned around he was already ready to go. You know, “Boss I’m ready to go.”

    French FA – “The Arsenal defender suffers from pain in his right big toe. He will remain available to his club to treat this chronic injury.

    “After speaking with Dr. Franck Le Gall, the French team doctor, Didier Deschamps noted William Saliba’s withdrawal and decided to replace him with Jean-Clair Todibo.”

  40. Nigel Tufnel

    “I’m rewatching the game but with Spanish commentators and it’s amazing how even they are vs the English pundits kissing City’s ass/avoiding criticism for refs. They were saying “goodbye Kovacic” when they were reviewing his yellow which clearly should have been red.”

    Mike Herz on Twitter X

    Should’ve been “adios Kovacic” for real.

  41. Madhu

    Guys am I wrong that Zinny didn’t invert much in the first half. He remained on his flank and I think white was playing more inside than usually he does. In second half straight away Zinny started inverting and we had more control start of the second half we had more control.

  42. Guns of SF

    I think Mike wanted us to take more chances in the second. zin in the midfield gave us a numbers edge.
    When Doku came on, he yanked him shortly after. Good call.
    Doku was not impressive however.

    We need a striker this Jan. Eddie aint it. WE need someone who is tall and can boss other Cbs out of position, and can score with head with our crossing

  43. Guns of SF

    Indeed the Kovacic incidents are something that need more looking into.
    We can send an inquiry to PGMOL or whatever that is. Oliver clearly did not want to send anyone off to not influence the biggest game, but Ode could have had his leg shattered

    The worry is that if this becomes a precedent. Second yellow for sure for me

  44. Gonsterous

    Mikeal finally learned. I wanted him to go ultra defensive but he showed me up by showing that we can win without getting dominated by city.

    He was also clever enough (for once) to know thay kai and Eddie on the pitch would have been bad news. The subs were used well yesterday. And guess what? When he does that, there’s no one screaming for why esr didn’t play. When the subs work, you shut up the critics.

    I was disappointed not seeing esr get some match time though. Thought arteta would rest ode at the end but I guess wirh the break coming up, he didn’t want to do that.

  45. Pierre

    With Raya ، the common cocensus is that he looked frightened with the ball at his feet but I’m not so sure I agree with that.
    What I saw was a keeper who was maybe too confident in his ability with the ball at his feet، for Raya to continue to be patient with the ball at his feet after nearly giving away a goal showed exceptional bravery or maybe some would call it stupidity, because one more mistake and he was done for, the crowd would have been calling for Ramsdale, his team mates would have lost trust in him and the pundits would have had a field day highlighting his mistakes.
    To be honest his season could have been over.

    Credit to Raya, from about the half hour mark he turned things round with a masterclass of kicking and dominating his area and he was instrumental in helping the team control the game for the last hour.

    Coincidentally Ederson started well but then made a few handling and kicking errors that unsurprisingly were not picked up by the commentators and pundits as there looked to be clear agenda from Gary neville especially against Raya…

    Raya needed to sharpen up his game after a dodgy start and he did, the problem is I think is that he takes risks and with risks comes mistakes and this gives the opposition hope so Raya needs to be sharp from the outset .

  46. Pierre

    The game panned out exactly as I thought , 2 teams who were content with a draw who were unwilling to over commit going forward.
    This was the type of game we needed, a hard working profesional job done that needed a touch of fortune to get over the line.

  47. Markymark

    GD4 – the. Courage to post during games 😂 . You should obviously be given a bravery award .
    I’d suggest scrapping the VC and the George Cross straight away. Running into burning buildings to save people or single handed storming a machine gun nest . Just doesn’t cut it. Not when you can be the biggest hero of all by posting some heavy live shit bruv. 👊

  48. Madhu

    I just looked at that stats, i must say they look impressive and in most we shade Man C slightly. We had only 21 less passes than them and couple of percentage less possession. Most other stats we shade them including touches’ inside the box, no of shots, shots on target and pass accuracy as well. Pretty impressive performance and full marks to Arteta. This win was delivered by him and his staff with superiors tactics. Doff my hats to Arteta and the coaching staff.

  49. Markymark

    Looking at Arteta I’ve come to the conclusion he’s a feudalist at heart. Demanding loyalty unto him and that way you get rewarded. Arteta himself has fitted into this role as the loyal captain to Arsene and the loyal number 2 to Pep. There was also the slightly odd gifting of expensive watches to board members when he was our captain.
    ESR and Ramsdale I suspect are far more here for the buzz of the club. Classic fan favourites who’ll want to enjoy their time whilst they are here with the other players etc. Arteta will be respected but someone else could take over and it’s continue on as before. Raya in contrast is here purely for the manager. That’s why he will remain being picked no matter what happens

  50. Berg10kamp

    Even if they had kdb and rodri, if we had partey and rice in midfield with saka on the right, martinelli on the left and jesus thru the middle we would have still beaten city. What a win, a beautiful game of chess, with some luck we nicked it but we deserved to win yesterday, despite it being pretty much even. COYG!!!! What a lift!

  51. Pierre

    Should questions be asked of pep and his team selection.
    No phillips at dcm…prefering bernado silva
    No akanji in defence…prefering the new signing
    No grealish …didn’t even bring him on .

    I said a few weeks back that I think he’s losing the plot, 3 domestic defeats on the bounce points to potentially serious problems as he can’t just rely on Rodri to dig him out of a hole.

    City have a tough run of games coming up and we need other teams to show belief that they can beat city, it’s not a crisis yet for city but they could be in for a bumpy ride over the next few months as their confidence seems to have taken a hit, it certainly has opened up the title race.

    Debruyne ‘s injury has a big impact on Haaland so city don’t have as much fire power up front to bail them out.
    Of course they will still blow away the easier teams but in the tight games Debruyne is a big miss as it affects haaland’s performance.

  52. Markymark

    Mr Serge – Havertz is a better option upfront than Eddie is. TBH my views on Kai are very caustic but if there is opportunity it might be there. January should be the window when we address the forward situation

  53. Madhu

    Pierre – Yesterday post match in my feed the experts were Owen, Cesc and Shaun-Wright. Cesc was very scathing on Pep and obviously Owen and Shaun-Wright were pussy footing. Cesc questioned why Kalvin Phillips wasn’t played and Pep had to change the entire midfield just because Rodri is not there. He basically said that Man C with so much spending can be dependent on Rodri so much that he has to change this whole midfield setup. Cesc was on fire yesterday.

  54. raptora

    It’s safe to say Raya and Havertz were brought here for the big games. The games where we would be pressed high and there will be space in behind so a long ball towards Havertz to win the duel and spray it to the wings does a wonderful job of evading any press whatsoever.

    We got lucky with the goal but the footprint is obvious, clear. It happened in a similar way in the Community Shield game, happened yesterday as well.

    My apologies to Eddie but he demonstrated how hard it is to win duels Vs the likes of Dias, Ake and Gvardiol. Physicality and control of the ball has to be on a top level.

    Rodri not playing for City was a big miss for them. City are different team with and without him. No wonder they’ve lost all 3 games he missed due to being red-carded.