Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Man City

History is on Arsenal’s side for the encounter against Manchester City. Including the League Cup, City have lost 21 of their last 28 visits to Arsenal, failing to score in 18 of those games.

I haven’t checked the details but I think West Brom had a similar record. Add the wealth Citeh have been able to splash out and it’s not difficult to see history will have little bearing on the outcome of this particular match.

Arsene, in his pre-match press conference, said he expected City to be tight at the back and play on the counter. That seems to be the most obvious observation. Last season Mancini’s side showed no ambition at the Emirates despite the fact that Arsenal were missing some key players and were on a bad run of form, with that game being in the middle of gut-wrenching away defeats to Spuds, Wigan, and Blackburn. Thus far this season the moneybags haven’t really set the stage alight in the home games against United, Chelsea, or Arsenal.

But while they might be boring, City deserve a great deal of respect. Some of us might not like the manner in which the visitors have bought players through financial doping but off-field issues should not be mixed up with performances on the pitch. Mancini has put together a physically and technically strong unit that is hard to beat. While some overpaid players might lack the team spirit and mentality needed for consistent performances at this level, we cannot ignore the 10 clean sheets or an away record that is almost as good as Arsenal’s.

Nothing less than a brilliant display will secure three points in this game. In fact, it could be so tight that just an odd mistake in an otherwise fighting display could see either side lose.

Tactically, Arsenal will have to reproduce the balance that we saw against Chelsea and Birmingham. The front six will have to help out the defence while constantly looking for opportunities to open the opposition up. They can’t afford to miss as many chances at they did at St. Andrews.

With Silva and Balotelli like to miss the game through injury, I expect Adam Johnson to get a game on the left. Clichy will need some support from Wilshere in order to thwart the threat posed by the England international. Johnson is excellent when cutting inside and the left-sided midfielder will have to be alert to that all through the game.

I’m not that worried about the threats down the middle or on the right (City’s left) but Yaya Toure could be a real danger if he is allowed to run with the ball, especially in counter attacking situations. The two deep lying midfielders will have to be positionally (positionally is not an actual word? It should be!) perfect to avoid this.

Given the physical strength of most City players, set-pieces will undoubtedly be the biggest source of worry for Arsenal. One way of dealing with this is to avoid conceding free-kicks, especially ones just inside the Arsenal half as we’ve conceded from that angle with alarming regularity.

There isn’t any obvious weakness in the visitors’ defence that is backed by a fantastic goalkeeper. Moreover, with three defensive minded midfielders in front of them and with wide players having the discipline and stamina to put in a shift up and down the flank, scoring against City will be a real challenge. That said, I feel Arsenal should have enough to break City down if Cesc and Nasri get on the ball often enough. Fabregas will have to play another captain’s innings so to speak.

I’ll also fancy Walcott’s pace against whoever City choose at Left Back (Zabaleta, Kolarov, Bridge?). On the right, Nasri might get some change out of Boateng or Richards but it will be a real battle. I feel the Frenchman will be more effective when he gets to drift in.

All of that will of course depend on the starting line-up that Arsene picks. To be honest I don’t see the need for any changes to the team that won at Birmingham. But in all honesty, I’ll be surprised if Arsene picks the same eleven.

Preferred line-up,

Fabianski – Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Cesc, Wilshere – Walcott, RvP, Nasri.

Expected line-up,

Fabianski – Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Cesc, Wilshere – Walcott, Chamakh, Nasri.

I’m not sure Arsene will play RvP and Djourou in consecutive games within a few days. I hope he will and I hope the players come through unscathed. We will just have to wait and see.

Once again, this game could be down to the first goal. If City get ahead it will be extremely difficult for Arsenal to get anything from this game. In contrast, if the Gunners take an early lead, this could turn into an open and exciting encounter.

I’d prefer a cautious start with the midfield staying close to the defence and the defenders playing deeper rather than a high line. But there is a real possibility that the visitors will drop deep and invite pressure. I think for Arsenal it’ll be important to maintain their defensive shape in such a case. If it’s 0-0 with 10 minutes to go I’ll fancy Arsenal over City. The Gunners must not commit suicide in search for glory. A draw won’t be a bad result even though a win is eminently achievable.

24 Responses to Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Man City

  1. MAMAN THEA says:

    PERTAMAX.. haha.. nice analysis Mr, thanks..

  2. Am says:

    In my eye its simple: Play Djourou we have a chance of winning.

    Dont play Djourou then we only have a cance of drawing or even losing.

    They both should play, as it they dont have to then play against Leeds, or even against Ipswich.

  3. MSL says:

    I think we will come out with the exact same line up as Chelsea. RvP and Djourou can be rested till the end of the month if need be because we play Leeds,Ipswich,Wigan and Hammers.

  4. Wellington says:

    When they don’t have Silva, they struggle with their fluency in passing.Unless we screw up big time, then the only possible results are 0:0 or if we score we win.

  5. 8 inch knob says:


  6. ak47 says:

    gotta be dj and rvp hasnt it? i’l be very suprised and disappointed if they dont. on a diff note tho…..
    u know whats scary besides the way brum and stoke play football?
    walcott 21yrs-100m-approx 10secs
    Ryo Miyaichi-18yrs-100m-approx 10.84secs
    carlos vela-21yrs-100m-approx 10.50secs?
    armand traore-21yrs-100m-approx 11.00secs?
    wellington da silva?
    any one else thats young extremely fast and is lucky enuf or will be to train wit rvp, cesc, nasri, wilshere, shavin? 5 of the most skillful players in the prem!
    sorry the thought excites me tremendously. add the right attitude and consistency and oh my…:-)

  7. GunnerID says:

    @MAMAN THEA- this isn’t kaskus 😀

    I think Ramsey will make it in the bench. just seen in Cesc’s Tweet

  8. wallace says:

    * If City get ahead it will be extremely difficult forArsenal to get anything from this game. In contrast, if the Gunners take an early lead, this could turn into an open and exciting encounter.* THIS is what u believe in our team?? I WOnder how u get to be an arsenal supporter . . Be positive .. . if we dont score first , even then we hav got the quality to win matches. And that is what all of us should believe in. . . Arsenal to win big today inshaALLAH

    • AnonymousGun says:

      He didnt say we cant win, he said its extremely difficult to win because they would surely shut off shop once in front. Being a fan doesnt mean you should be blinded by the team weakness (of course, going too crazy like AAA brigades isnt either) but acknowledging weakness means we could find a way to fix it.

      That being said, I wonder if AW consider moving SN8 to the middle instead of Jack and introduce AA23 back to the left wing/ or TR7 if he do worries about AA23 lack of defensive discipline. Both TR7 and SN8 can play in Jack’s role perfectly.

      With MoneyCity surely playing with 3 DM, it surely something to consider, no?

      oh btw, out of all their players, I’m more afraid of the thug DeJong playing >.>

  9. FoolishgooNer says:

    Yea beat the moneybags. Manures are getting all the help they need cause laid down for them today.

  10. Aijnkya says:

    I heard Djourou has a troubled knee and won’t be playing.

    • FoolishgooNer says:

      That is not a good news! I don’t like squillaci and Koc together they are too error prone. Koc makes up his mistakes because he has pace but squillaci I worry. Nonetheless team defense is a must and please do not start arshavin and wilshere on the same side of the pitch. Because Clichy will be exposed defensively. Rather than that it should be good game Chamach will be hungry if he starts for Robin. I hope he takes shots, striker with 0 shots on goal is a desaster. Hopefully he has been watching film during his time on the bench. Shoot the ball damn it, make goalkeeper work. 3 points is all I want tomorrow. Cheers

  11. dj-47 says:

    should be a comfortable win 4 the gunners

  12. nasri says:

    i would rather chamakh then vp. but i don’t care djour play because our defence is poor.we just care mdf and stkr now until we see tomas come back

  13. TCP_13 says:

    Pertamax? Indonesian gooners are swarming this area now, huh? LOL

    Anyway, will de jong play? I’m always worried everytime this player plays against us. Whenever he is determined to overcommit himself, I’m afraid our midfield will be in constant danger.

    I believe that this match will be won in the midfield area where our creative force will be duelled with their defensive rocks. Yet, if they don’t have malicious intents I’m sure that ours will overcome theirs.

    Lastly, I’m waiting for the impact of the bust up between ade and kolo to destroy them internally even before the go on the pitch.


  14. gunnertilidie says:

    How unfortunate, just when we were looking forward to a great opportunity to introduce the one and only “Super Mario” Balloteli to our very humble and very own Jack “the bean stalk” Wilshire the giant cant attend the party. Seems there wont be any fi fi fo fum’s tonite only the slaying of the Manche$ter giant.

  15. sean o'leary says:

    Agreed. By the way ‘positionally’ is indeed a word, it’s the adjective form of the the verb, to position.

  16. Pentium says:

    Fabregas and Nasri are on fire. I want you guyz to know that, we are winning against City no matter who plays. Its gonna be another 3-0 win for the Gunners. Keep the faith. Arsenal for Treble!

  17. Stingy Voyeur Implodes says:

    Dont you dare implode today Stingy! Big match today. Don’t crumble. And remember … be champions!

  18. William says:

    If we play like the way we did against Chelsea and AW put the same players against Citeh, then victory should be ours. De Jong should be scrutinised heavily by the referee. He is a dirty player who will whack everyone in the midfield.

  19. Karthik says:

    I really believe TR7 or SN8 should play instead of Wilshere with the other playing on the left. No real reason, just a feeling that this should be done. 😀

  20. Honest Bill says:


    Ah i see that you too are an advocate of the Harry Redknapp approach to management and decision making..

  21. Oluyori tayo says:

    I wil prefer team against chelsea nd bgham than wigan.

  22. […] Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Man City History is on Arsenal’s side for the encounter against Manchester City. Including the League Cup, City have lost 21 […] […]

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