BIGGEST GAME OF THE DECADE

by .

I’m writing this the night before the game.

Why am I not scared?

What is this tingling feeling… ah, it is confidence. A sensation I have not felt in an away game at City in many a moon.

But it is justified.

Arsenal is the best team in the Premier League this season, by any metric. We fight and control, we have big-game players, our defence is beastly, and our attack is on fire.

Professional footballers tend to peak between 27 and 31. Arsenal doesn’t have many players over the age of 26 years old. Why am I telling you that? Because a game like the one we’re about to face is a learning experience on the biggest stage in the world. If we win, we’ve managed nerves in a big game. If we lose, we’re going to have to learn to bounce back for two competitions. If we draw, we’ve learned to manage a big game away from home and escape unscathed.

Whatever happens, we’ll be developing our IP code stack. Don’t buy that? Look at how long it took the most expensively assembled squad in the league to win a Champions League final under the greatest manager of all time.

Football is a process. Big teams don’t happen overnight. Our wage bill is about half of the team we’re about to play. Our trophy cabinet is empty by comparison.

We are winning just by being part of a moment like this.

To give the game context Gary Neville has not… during the battle years between Klopp and Pep, neither manager won away at their major rival in the big moments. Maybe Liverpool beat City in the COVID season when it didn’t matter? I can’t be arsed to look.

This is an article from March 4th.

But City’s difficult run at Anfield goes back well before Guardiola’s arrival. Across their 26 Premier League trips to Anfield, City have recorded only TWO wins.

Seventeen of those meetings have ended in defeat for City, who have only claimed seven draws there.

I think Liverpool’s last success at The Etihad in 2018 in the CL quarter-finals.

Whatever the stat… it is a rare occasion when the two giants of the last 5 years take a win away from home.

So when Gary Neville says Arsenal’s inexperienced squad of youngsters needs to win… he’s teeing us up for a fall. It’s weak sauce analysis from a guy that fears his ‘I don’t get the strategy’ comment will be hung in the Premier League Hall Of Fame before he is.

Anything more than 0 points would be huge. If we lose, it’s not over. If we win, we haven’t won anything yet.

It’s an exciting match-up. Arsenal weren’t great against Porto in the first leg. Nerves got the better of us. Will we let the occasion get the better of us in the game today? Or will the fact we’ve tasted victory against them already reduce the fear factor?

My big worry is the Premier League has put Jarred Gillet on the game. He’s an awful, awful official, and the league just loves dumping him on big games despite his Liverpool fandom. Having someone so controversial in the VAR room for a game this important shows you how flawed the process at PGMOL is.

Selection-wise, the only major concern will be Martinelli. He can run, the risk is 1) did he feel pain in the last training session 2) is he actually fit enough 3) is it worth risking a monster player with 25% of the season still to run.

I think we’ll see Gabriel Jesus. He was a winger for City, he’s better than Trossard, and he’ll absolutely relish the chance to put one on Pep G.

Then there’s the second big question: Do you keep going with Kiwior, or do you introduce Zinchenko to help unpick a 4 center-back setup?

So many questions… they’re all about to be answered. I cannot WAIT for this game.

Just remember Arsenal fans… we didn’t think we’d ever be in conversations like this again. Here we are. Try to enjoy it.

If you want to join us LIVE after the game, sign up to our Patreon and get involved in a big one! x

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TallestTiz

Let’s go for the jugular

TallestTiz

Two goal win?

TallestTiz

3 goal win?

TallestTiz

Hopefully with a Trophy at the end of the season

Leftside

We have a horrific record at the Etihad and City are exceptionally formidable at home so it is a tall order today but I have optimism that we can give them a game.

Hard to know how both sides will be after the painfully boring international break too.

TallestTiz

Is Saka fit for this game?

If Martinelli isn’t fit, I would use Jesus. Then introduce Trossard later depending on demands of the game.

Chrispy

To me it feels like a free hit. Even more so if Brighton get something in the 2pm KO.
I just hope the result isn’t affected by some PGMOL gimp.
Saying all that, if everyone is fit, I think we’ll give them a hell of a game. COYG

Kan

Maybe it’s the high from making a breakthrough in my thesis last night, but I am going for a 1-3 Arsenal win

Berg10kamp

All I will say is…. We need to dominate like we did with Liverpool and Newcastle. COYG!!!! Absolutely amped for this one! Will be firing up the bbq as its a fucking celebration today!

Emiratesstroller

Arsenal are not by any metric an “inexperienced” team. Okay most of our players are 25 or younger, but that can be an advantage in a physicallydemanding game as will be the case this evening against Man City.

We are on a good run in the EPL since the beginning of January. Also we
have lost only one game all season against a top six team [ Aston
Villa] and on balance that was a match we should have won.

However, Man City are formidable opponents at home and unbeaten at
Etihad. Frankly I would take a draw there.

Bob N16

ES, it’s possible that none of our starting 11 will have experienced a winning title run in, that experience does count for something. That said I am thinking it is our time. A draw would be good result though!

Rodney

I am not a believer in PGMOL conspiracy theories but if you are

The one result Liverpool fans don’t want is a City win

The last thing the Premiership and the broadcasters needs is a City title procession after all the hype about a three horse race

So any bias should be in our favour today with a draw most likely

Ahmed

5 goal win? Thats been the trend of late

Emiratesstroller

Bob N16

Good morning hope you are well.

Okay I accept that we have lack of experience in winning league titles.

The bottom line is that I think that the team winning today’s game will be
probably favourites to win league title.

However, the critical games left this season are probably against Spurs.
All three clubs have games against them.

Emiratesstroller

Aston Villa have also got games against the top three.

Chris

What I am confident of today is that we will give City a hell of a game. And that hasn’t happened at their stadium for a very long time. I think we are very much capable of going there and winning but I would be delighted with a point. And a defeat would not be curtains, there is still quite the way to go. Overall, this is the feeling we all wanted back, nerves, excitement or both, the feeling of being in a huge match with the title on the line. Last season, unfortunately we were fading as they were… Read more »

Useroz

As long as we try to play “our football ” and wouldn’t exhibit inferior complex… i am happy and have nothing more to ask from the team!

Useroz

“I think we’ll see Gabriel Jesus. He was a winger for City, he’s better than Trossard, and he’ll absolutely relish the chance to put one on Pep G.

Definitely, and Jesus feels more robust in rough& tough game..

Prefer Kiwior to Zinchenko.

Seriously, Pgmol’s shameless decision to putt that Gillet guy in charge is atrocious. Klopp must be rubbing his hands, etc. watching it …

Dream10

Need to make sure we concede no more than one goal to get something from the match. We’re not built to go blow for blow with the elites

Whiteydagooner

Whatever the outcome of the league it looks like a win/win for Pep.If we finish ahead of City then Pep will be credited for his moulding of Mikel. ..So let’s cop these three points, go on to take the title..and let Pep share the credit. ..

Useroz

Clearly KdB wasn’t in top form against Pool and got yabked so he’d want to show he’s still the best in today’s game.

Would like to see us closing him down quick and forcefully to ruffle and minimize the supply to the brute and others…

A bit worried Saka might face a v challenging Ake in which case Odegarrd and White would become decisive.

Let’s walk it… spread the goals!

Mulerise14

Absolutely I won’t change anything in the settings of back five, if I don’t have to .
Jesus for Martinelli is chaos for chaos.
Don’t risk any one,that is not 100% fit,for this match.
Havertz has to be given his rope to run their defence ragged as a 9.
Will play jorginho even if Partey is fit.
COYG…👌

Raulishuss

Dream10
Dream10
16 minutes ago
Need to make sure we concede no more than one goal to get something from the match. We’re not built to go blow for blow with the elites

Bruh do you ever feel optimistic about anything arsenal. From saka isn’t a top level winger to gabriel and white aren’t top 4 defenders you just don’t have eyes for what this arsenal team can do or maybe you know better as always. Arsenal went blow to blow with liverpool at Anfield might I remind you and we sure are an elite team right now

Dixc

This is the first time I felt so calm and relaxed approaching a game of this magnitude in years. Long may it continues.

0-2 to arsenal. I feel strongly that we will keep a clean sheet today.

Last edited 12 days ago by Dixc
Raulishuss

Think we are the one team that is built to contain city with an shape right now. We can decide to play a deep block against city and be successful with it and more than capable enough to pin them in their half for a sustained time as well. We should be good value for a win imo

Karsa

3-1 to The Arsenal.

Northbanker

Needs to be the same team other than Jesus for Martinelli. COYG

T T

27 nil to City…..every time I’m optimistic about a game we loose and every time I’m pessimistic we win so…………

Northbanker

I don’t think it is win win for Pep if we win the Prem. That fact Art was his pupil will be of no consolation to Pep whatsoever

Jonnygunner

Love the picture Pedro ❤️

jwl

Jonathan Wilson – “But it’s at Manchester City and Arsenal that the trend has been most pronounced, so much so that, because of the injury to Kyle Walker, there is a strong possibility that all four full-back positions at the Etihad on Sunday will be occupied by players more usually thought of as centre-backs. If only Tony Pulis were managing now. No position has undergone such profound and constant change over the past 40 years as the full-back, transformed from defenders whose job was to stop opposing wingers and very occasionally sling over a cross into often the only real… Read more »

jwl

My teenage niece has been most anxious I ever seen her this week, women have final in league cup today and then the lads kick off against mancheaty. It felt like child abuse when I first got her into arsenal 8/9 years ago but now it all good.

Pedro must have been traumatized by late Wenger era if he thought we never getting back to this level, Arsenal are massive club that was being run by semi-retired legend but now we back on track and we are where we should always be.

Pierre

Our failure to get over the line last season, mainly due to unforced errors, makes it a little harder this season to win the title, and every season we fail to get over the line will make it more difficult to bring silverware to the club.. Although there are 10 games to go , for me it’s the next 5 games that are vital as a couple of defeats or even draws will probably see us have a repeat of last season , where we lost a 2 goal lead away to liverpool and west ham due to poor in… Read more »

Bob N16

All good ES

Lewis is a good prospect but if he plays RB whoever plays there should test him as much as possible.

Just hope we’ve got our shooting boots on.

Pierre

Jwl “Pedro must have been traumatized by late Wenger era if he thought we never getting back to this level, Arsenal are massive club that was being run by semi-retired legend but now we back on track and we are where we should always be.” I’m sure if the “semi retired” wenger had 6/7/800 mil to spend or whatever it is that we have spent the last 4/5 years then he would have had us competing for the title. He was still winning trophies and had us qualifying for Europe despite having a fraction of what we are spending now.… Read more »

Dream10

Excellent comment Pierre

Rich

On one hand… City away is arguably the hardest fixture in football.. On the other hand… These are exactly the types of games we want to be involved in at this stage of the season. I haven’t felt confident going away to City for a long time, they’ll be favourites at home.. But currently there’s not much between the 2 teams, and we’re in with a decent chance of taking something out of the game. Last season we were too easily bullied out of it, physically City were better than us, and then we conceded a 2nd just before half… Read more »

T T

Pedro, I did not know that you where allowed to have 2 of the same numbers on the pitch at the same time, let alone 3!

jwl

Saka, Marti and Gabriel all seen this morning in Manchester when squad went for a walk around the block after breakfast but who knows if they fit to play.

zaco

T T.
“Pedro, I did not know that you where allowed to have 2 of the same numbers on the pitch at the same time, let alone 3!”

City defenders would be seeing Saka, Rosicky and Pires in today’s game wearing the same number 7.

Eboues Bank Account

Zinny should be played in the middle today. It can quite possibly be a masterstroke that no one would have foreseen and it’s events like these that go down in history as markers for a successful title charge. Come on Mikel, like Nike says, just do it!

Ben D

Let’s Go !!!!! COYG

Dissenter

BW will send a message to all the haters to today.
Southgate put a target on his back and now our boy will have his say.

Northbanker

Rich I don’t disagree with comments on Martinelli but if ever there was an ideal replacement it is Jesus.

Saliba was missing last year in this fixture. We have added Rice and Kai AND we also have Raya

Felix

Happy Easter

Great day ahead and hopefully the support act (Brighton) kick the day off with a fine performance.

China1

I am in the minority in that I don’t think on paper we actually have all that much to fear We’ve beaten them in both of our last two matches. We have a better attack and defense than them so far this season over 30 games (hardly a small sample size) We’re above them in the league Being at home is a clear advantage but they’re definitely not unbeatable. Back when Utd were one of the best teams in the world we won plenty of huge games at old trafford. We even won the title there without Henry in the… Read more »

China1

I’m very sorry that my gut instinct is always wrong and whilst yesterday I had a bad feeling we’d lose, that’s now changed to pretty high confidence we will win

This unfortunately means a defeat. Very sorry guys.

But place your bets now because there’s money to be made betting against my gut feeling every time 🥲

karim

Well, the day has finally come, come on Arsenal, let’s do it !

Rich

Super Danny Welbeck 🔥 🔥🔥

China1

lol welbz

Always said he was world class!!! Haha

Bergkamp63

Welbz with a stunner !

Luteo Guenreira

Liverpool trailing early and it’s the hope that kills you. Mac Allister with a yellow already too.

NJ Gooner

It’s a day for a double pivot and Kiwior at left back. City need the win. We don’t. Let them come at us and catch them on the counterattack without Walker’s pace in defense.

Either way, holding my breath. Great days.

WengerEagle

Well men, today’s the day. The truth is that given our record there we would all probably bite your hand off for a draw today as a final result but IIRC last year we only needed to draw and we went in passive and unsure of ourselves and promptly got trounced. I’d love for us to be bold and aggressive today. I honestly think quality-wise we match up like for like with them when it comes to the XI anyway. Fast and aggressive out of the blocks and give them a punch in the mouth early on. A win would… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

Good to see Raulishuss back. COYG.

Luteo Guenreira

My main concern is the long layoff since the last game. We can’t afford to come out flat. Liverpool conceding at 2” is an example.

Fuck they just equalized.

WengerEagle

Shame this isn’t the Brighton of September/October time. Fully expect Liverpool to comeback and take all three points, 1-1 at the time of writing.

Another goal please, Dannyboy

Rich

Adingra is quick… Brighton down their left are having plenty of joy going forward.

The out ball was consistently on in the first half.. Bradley a threat going forward, but Brighton clearly targeting him going the other way.

Liverpool’s press playing towards the Kop.. Brighton inviting Liverpool to press in front of the Kop..

Should be an interesting 2nd half.

Habesha Gooner

Let’s go. I am excited. This is the stage to test ourselves. I feel we are ready. I don’t think we will lose this game unless something horrible happens like a sending off.

Paulinho

Incredible to think Mac Allister cost a third of Enzo Fernandez’s fee and he is about twice the player.

Dissenter

David Coot always looks like he’s in over his head.
Can’t think of a worse referee anywhere
He’s going to fold under the Anfield pressure

raptora

Saka, Gabriel and Jesus all start according to info on Twitter.

raptora

Salah scores as per usual.

Goona

COYG nothing short of 3pts today please!

Paulinho

Standard of the premier league is so overstated. All teams like Liverpool have to do is set a moderately high pace and the opposition just crumble.

London gunner

Must win game if we dra Liverpool will run away with the title if we lose it will be between Liverpool and city I think Liverpool will do it they just keep winning and have loads of key players coming back.

If we win I think we have a narrow path to win our first title in over two decades.

raptora

Our usual lineup with Jesus in place of Trossard. I guess Kai at CF with Jesus on the left.

jwl

Arsenal XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Jesus

Paulinho

I’ve never seen a player’s performance levels dip with fatigue as much as Welbeck. Becomes completely uncoordinated.

Left Testicle

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard, Saka, Jesus, Havertz

Subs: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Vieira, Partey, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Trossard, Nketiah

Habesha Gooner

Pool are in for a rude awakening when Salah and Klopp leave at the end of the season. They have been grinding out games most of this season. Not this game though. They won’t return to compete for the title next season. We will though.

Paulinho

Hopefully Kiwior proves me wrong but think he could get hugely exposed today.

Left Testicle

Hopefully Martinelli fit enough to make an impact from the bench.

TheLegendaryDB10

On the contrary, I think the long break has allowed everyone to recharge their batteries. The players looked like they were in good shape and raring to go in training.

The key for me is that the players need to believe in themselves.

We definitely won’t be underestimating Cheaty, but what we shouldn’t do is show them some respect. We need to show them that we mean business and that we can fight them toe to toe.

It will be a tough afternoon but I genuinely think that the boys can do it and win today.

Come on The Arsenal!!!

pseudo warrior

In other news, Got to laugh at the legend of Harry Kane and his trophy hunt

Habesha Gooner

Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard, Jesus, Saka, Havertz

Bench
Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Partey, Viera, ESR, Trossard, Martinelli, Nketiah.

As strong as we can be to be honest.

raptora

I would like to see Saka and Jesus swap positions at some point of the game. Jesus’ best position is on the RW while Saka has delivered some world class balls from the left.

Madhu

Marti on bench so he could.play a part later on in the game.

Mysticleaves

Maybe pgmol could appointment referees from india for every Arsenal game. That way Pedro could give it a rest with the conspiracy theories 😏

Mysticleaves

Would be very insensitive for us to seek the initiative in this match. I think this is a game for moments. They want to win more than us so let’s be cagey and strong defensively like we have been all season and then choose moments to attack and try to score. The shape must not be abandoned, unnecessary high presses would not be needed. Stay compact, try to score at a perceived vulnerable point, reset to formation. Rinse, repeat! Bore them to a draw or win

Nigel Tufnel

I hope that “cut” is healed enough to get martinelli 30 minutes or so to run at tired defenders.

Madhu

For all those that keep bringing Wenger into discussion, think like this. If Wenger had left earlier then Arteta wouldn’t be here. It’s destiny guys so enjoy the moment. He did ultimately have us 3 PLs and 7 FA Cups and a CL final. It’s all destiny and it’s now time for Arteta he make his own legacy. Let’s not demean Arteta by bringing Wenger in all conversations.

Last edited 12 days ago by Madhu
Nigel Tufnel

Kovacic was used by Pep to put in some extremely dirty tackles in the earlier meeting this season, taken off conveniently before seeing a red.
Same plan today?

Northbanker

That’s a strong bench for us

Paulinho

Liverpool winning means we should be less nervous than usual. We have nothing to lose really; this game isn’t really that important compared to matches in April last year. I don’t class us as being in a title race unless we are well within reach with six games to go and we still have a way to go yet.

Go out and enjoy it. Far too early to be inhibited by the circumstances.

Ramdas

I feel our defence and midfield are a match for them.
Attack seems to be the only area where they’re slightly stronger.
I guess a lot will depend on what games Havertz and Haaland have.

Luckily we’re one of few teams that has the defenders to stop Haaland.

Felix

China1

Given I now use the China1 80:20 Rule, I’m beyond disappointed to read of your optimism 🙂

Aaron

AFC are the club that is and will forever be the true measure of greatness!

Let’s go!

rollen

2- 1 to the good guys!

PGMOL will absolutely try to swing it for City.

Wardo

Come on arsenal. Not sure we should go toe for toe with city. Just play and keep in the game

Main focus is don’t concede and we could always catch them on the break if they pile forward

TheLegendThatIsDennisBergkamp

Let’s get ready to rumble !!!!!

Le Groove

Here we go boys!

Aaron

Front foot, press them, play our way!

TheLegendaryDB10

Come on The Arsenal!!!

rollen

Let’s go!

Aaron

Or put another way, WIN the duels!

Last edited 12 days ago by Aaron
Useroz

Half chance Jesus

TheLegendaryDB10

That was close from Jesus!!

TheLegendaryDB10

Ohhh Rocky, Rocky!!!

Rocky, Rocky, Rocastle!!!

raptora

I’m sick and tired of Jesus asking for fouls he will never ever get. But he just stops playing and starts waving hands instead of remaining active in the game…

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