Tag Archives: Manchester City

How seriously should Arteta take the FA Cup?

Two real basic schools of thought:

1) Arteta should rest everyone. The league is our priority. No need to risk players in the FA Cup.

2) Arteta needs to play everyone. Keep the momentum. Winning breed more winning.

Rest them all

Tonight we face Manchester City away, and I really can see the pros and cons of both arguments.

We need to keep rotating the squad. Give key players a break when we can. Especially the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey (injury issues), Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka (over playing) and Eddie Nketiah (only striker).

We need to go “all-in” on the league and give these players a weekend off.

And even if they did play, City will probably beat us anyone, which will be even more damaging.

Play them all

Winning breeds winning.

We stick out our first team and give ourselves the best chance of going through.

Beat City in the cup then confidence will be high when we play them twice in the league. Play a 2nd string and get dicked, it will eb away at that confidence.

Our last game was Sunday. That was 5 days ago. Our next game is next Saturday, over a week away. There is no need to rest players. We have a week without them playing.

And we should be looking to win as many trophies as possible. The FA Cup might end up as a consolation prize for us if we do not win the league. We have to stay in it to give ourselves the best chance of winning it.

My view? Probably half way between both.

We need to play our strongest possibile team, but also need to give a few players a break.

Matt Turner will get a run out in goal, whilst Takehiro Tomiyasu should start ahead of Ben White in defence.

White certainly does not needs a break, but right back is an area where we can make a change without seeing a drop-off in quality. A run out for Tomiyasu keeps him fresh.

Kieran Tierney should come in for Zinchenko on the left. The Ukranian has had his injury issues so two weeks without football will not be a bad thing.

Despite the accuisation of Jakub Kiwior, I would not expect him to start tonight. Nor should Rob Holding start. I would stick with William Saliba and Gabriel. Keep that strong middle.

Mohamed Elneny will come in for Thomas Partey.

Partey is the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League and our chance to be Champions is linked directly to his fitness. No need to risk him in either the FA Cup or Europa League this season. Just have him fit for the 19 remaining Premier League games.

Although this is what I had written before Elneny’s injury. I think we will see Lokonga given one last chance to show he has a future.

Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka should both start.

Odegaard did not play in the World Cup and the drop off from Xhaka to Albert Sambi Lokonga is too great.

Lokonga’s future needs to be questioned and we saw in the Oxford game the difference in class between him and Xhaka

I would make one change in the front 3, with Leandro Trossard coming in for either Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Martinelli.

You can probably make an argument for all 3.

Saka has played the most for club and country this season. Nketiah is our only out and out striker. Trossard was mainly bought in as Martinelli cover and competition.

I would probably go for the later.

I think Trossard for Martinelli will be the most likely substitution when we are chasing a game.

Left wing is Trossard’s most natural position, and Martinelli is less of a threat than Saka.

We saw the sub work to great affect against Manchester United on Sunday, and I can see if becoming a regualr 70 minute change.

So how seriously should Arteta take the FA Cup? I am 50/50, As is the team I would select:

Tomiyasu Saliba Gabriel Tierney
Saka Odegaard Xhaka Trossard



The Top 6: Who is still left from 2012/13?

With the transfer window slamming shut, Arsenal’s activity has left them with just 2 members of the squad who have been with the club since the 2012/13 season. Nacho Monreal and Damián Martinez.

This summer we have seen Carl Jenkinson and Laurent Koscileny both leave. They were the only two remaining players from the 2012/13 squad picture, with Monreal joined us in the January transfer window.

It feels like a huge squad turnover, that out of the 35 players to have pulled on an Arsenal shirt during that season, just 2 remains.

How does this compare with the rest of the top 6?

Liverpool – 1

Just Jordan Henderson remains from Liverpool’s 2012/13 squad. They have the highest turnover over all of the top 6. Not a surprise considering they finished 7th that season.

Chelsea – 1

following David Luiz joining Arsenak, just 1 member of the Chelsea squad of 2012/13 remain. Club captain César Azpilicueta.

Arsenal – 2

The aforementioned Nacho Monreal is still at the club having signed a 1 year extension a month or so ago. Damián Martinez played twice in the League Cup that year.

Manchester City – 2

David Silva and Sergio Aguero are the only 2 players left from a Manchester City team that finished the 2012/13 season behind their big rivals Manchester United

Manchester United – 4

The 2012/13 league champions have kept hold of Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and David de Gea. Although many Manchester United fans will question how the 1st 3 are still at the club, and David de Gea probably wonders how he has not yet secured a move away.

Tottenham – 4

Harry Kane played just 4 minutes in the 2012/13 season. Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Danny Rose are also still with the club.


Just 20 left – never to be repeated

Dropped points remind Arsenal fans why we are where we are

The defeat against Everton was a reminder to everyone – fans, players and management- just how far we are off from challenging for the title.

I was actually surprised that Arsenal fans were surprised by the performance, by the defeat. It merely showed why Arsenal are in the battle for 3rd and not the battle for top.

Before kick off we were 19 points off of Liverpool in top spot, and 17 points off of Manchester City in 2nd place. We have never been in the title race this season, and there is a reason for that.

Too many dropped points.

It sounds obvious, but that is the crux of it. This was the 13th game this season Arsenal had failed to win.

Liverpool have only failed to win 8 games and Manchester City just 6 games.

Arsenal are why they are because they have dropped points this season against the likes of Crystal Palace, Wolves, Southampton, Brighton, West Ham and Everton.

They are the type of games you need to be taking 3 points in if you wish to mount a title challenge.

It is not just Arsenal who have dropped too many points against sides outside of the top 6, but also those sides around us.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham have also dropped points in too many games against non-top 6 sides.

To state the obvious again, this is why they are fighting it out for 3rd, and not 1st.

The “dropped points against non-top 6” sides are in the same order as the teams placing in the Premier League table.

Liverpool leading the way and Chelsea bringing up the rear.

This is not ground breaking, revolutionary stuff. But it is a reminder to Arsenal fans that we are where we are for a reason. We are not good enough. And that with away games against Wolves, Watford, Leicester and Burnley to come, we will drop more points.

But Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham will also drop more points.

That is why I think 75 is the magic number to get op 4.

The defeat against Everton was a disappointing one, but it merely confirms why Arsenal are in 4th rather than 1st.

Unai Emery has improved us hugely this season from last season, but there is still a long way to go to make us title challengers again.