Manchester City Preview: Pride In The Name Of Arsenal

If you weren’t able to watch the Rocky & Wrighty: From Brockley To The Big Time, then click here for the full version on YouTube. If it gets taken down, search it out; should BT decide to release it commercially, buy it. I didn’t get paid for that, it is just essential viewing.

Modern fans must be sick to death of hearing about the ‘good old days’ but it will explain so much about the attitude us old farts expect from the players, and what we mean about pride in playing for Arsenal. It underlines the attitude we want from players but will never get.

The way David Rocastle was sold to Leeds underlines how football has changed. No matter the compassion or love George Graham felt for Rocastle the man, it was a brutal manner of delivery: in Graham’s car outside training and then just leaving Rocky to mill around outside.

Times change and we have far better facilities to deliver that news. Of course, agreeing a fee is no guarantee of selling a player these days. Too many of them just loiter in the squad, content to never get a sniff of the first team again, all the while collecting their wages.

That short-termism is typical of football; long-term damage to their careers is forsaken for another season in the wilderness. It’s the same with the decision over the manager’s future but that’s for another day; today is about on the pitch, not off it.

We’re Praying It’s Not Too Late

Football loves a cliché and ‘must-win’ games fit the bill. Arsenal have nine Premier League cup finals to rescue their domestic season. The FA Cup is, of course, its own cup final in every game, with just the one actually delivering a trophy. Seven points off the top four, with a game in hand; even a win today still leaves us with a mountain to climb, relying others to drop points.

And there’s no point looking ahead either. Defeat today renders next season’s Champions League Round of Sixteen exit as nothing more than a pipe dream. Games are running out to rectify the poor performances of 2017.

I wish I could be confident of a win this afternoon but I can’t. There’s no telling which Arsenal will show up although team news lends itself more readily to the shambolic wreck of the Hawthorns than the majestic sweeping aside of Chelsea at the Emirates. Last summer seems such a long time ago.


Cech is out, while none of the long-term injured are in contention either. The peculiar case of Lucas Perez continues to baffle, with a mysterious thigh injury causing his absence. The ready-made excuse of Santi Cazorla’s absence is waiting to be used with Arsène declaring the Spaniard’s season over.

There is the makings of a decent XI but with Arsenal it’s the mental side of the match which is more important. Do they have the concentration so evidently missing against West Brom, back? Do they have the mental strength to fight back?

We’re Falling From Grace

As long as they run around a lot, Arsène won’t mind. His acolytes continue to berate and criticise Alexis for not running far enough in matches. Don’t worry about the defending, let’s have a pop at the only player who shows he cares about winning.

According to the club’s pet troll, John Cross, Alexis shouldn’t even be at Arsenal; we ought to sign Peter Crouch because he runs around the most in Premier League. Forget Alexis’ 18 goals and 9 assists, he could do more for the team; he’s lazy, according to the perverse logic employed.

That’s not to say Alexis isn’t without faults and weaknesses; he is. However, in a team where heart and commitment is constantly questioned, the Chilean will always be popular for wearing his heart on his sleeve. If you worry about his demeanour, body language or frustration, look at the cause of it rather than criticising that aspect of the player. Ask yourself why he is feeling that way; he’s only mirroring the frustrations felt by supporters.

The state of it. Still, it’s not the British way, is it, old chap? Stiff upper lip, what.

We’ve Got Stars Directing Our Fate

If it feels doom and gloom this morning, our record in big matches this season leaves a lot to be desired, even by our standards. The win over Chelsea stands out as the anomaly. We can win today, don’t get me wrong. City’s vulnerability at the back is well-documented but our biggest enemy will be ourselves.

The return of Mesut Özil leaves Arsène with a decision to make: which Alex to include? Iwobi earned his brownie points by praising the Frenchman while on international duty but Oxlade-Chamberlain is far more effective in the team at the moment. Both won’t fit in with the German and the odds are the England international will lose out, such is Wenger’s loyalty to certain players.

My XI for today:

Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, Özil, Welbeck; Sanchez

Bring on 4pm; it’s been a fortnight in the making and Arsenal’s backs are pushed so hard against the wall, we’ve gone right through. The only thing left to play for is pride; time for the players to show theirs.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.


170 thoughts on “Manchester City Preview: Pride In The Name Of Arsenal

  1. Absolutely shambolic defending!

    Ospina should have done better there though, he simply didn’t get down quick enough.

  2. How was Aguero allowed that much space? What was Ozil doing? Just a joke. City almost decided they would switch back on again.

    Heard a commentator say that City haven’t done the double over Arsenal since 75-76. That’s another unwanted broken record on Wenger’s watch then.

  3. Arsenal never learn says Keown. Absolutely correct although we did have a well organised defence in the CL once – what ever happened to the man responsible for that?

  4. Theo almost grabs his 2nd!

    Ozil and Sanchez both showing up in attack for us, unfortunately we can’t defend for shit

  5. Nearly by Walcott just over the bar.

    I bet all the Japanese tourists in the ground will be loving this.

  6. Walcott looks lovely today. If we can get the ball to our forwards we look dangerous but our midfield and defence are a joke. What can you do when two-thirds of your team are fucking awful?

  7. I heard that Gazidis said to some fans that the last 6 weeks were a catalyst for change.

    Slip of the tongue? – or are there changes coming? – I am at the stage where I really cannot be assed to care.

    There is no real improvement since the last few games and with this set up and with these players I just cannot see where improvement is going to come from. Bugger,

  8. For all the stick Mert got for being slow and cumbersome he it seems he was the only one able to organise a defence. Kos can’t do it, Mustafi needs an experienced head alongside him as does Bellerin. Leaderless and rudderless on the pitch, but then again Wenger doesn’t believe in a ‘captain’ as such to lead them. I can think of a dozen former players that would have chewed this lot out ten times over.

  9. Cambridge women beat Oxford Women in the University boat race, by a considerable distance.

  10. Ozil, and his refusal to show even the slightest appearance of giving a shit after giving away posession in our own half, needs to fuck right off. If that is all the desire he can muster then I don’t give a toss if he leaves this summer.

  11. We have some extremely dense ‘fans’. Just heard that one texted into 5Live to say it was the fans fault because we forced Wenger to buy big rather than let him do it his way. Dickhead.

  12. having said I sort of wanted City to win to hasten AW’s demise, I’m shouting at the TV for us to bury City 🙂
    our defence is awful, incontestable. But in a game we scored from a corner (!!!) who knows.

  13. Makes no fucking sense to take off Theo when he is inches away from having a brace on the first half and has looked up for it and dangerous all match. What a fucking joke

  14. Taking off Welbeck and Theo make no sense, why not bring off Le Coq and put Iwobi there if anything.

    Sometimes I feel like he makes subs just to get certain players om the pitch. I mean if we are going to see out the match then Elneny for Le Coq makes sense.

  15. fair play to the players to get a draw in our form but nothing changes, we fail to make ground on man utd….cl qualification looks dodgy

  16. Needed a win today in a home game against rivals. Dropped points mean we are falling further behind though.

  17. stop with this we want to be further up the league chat from the players, we want to win the league that should be their aim absolutely nothing else.

  18. Waiting to hear what Arsene has to say. Start of the comeback? Enough to sign yet? Maybe after a home win against the Hammers (although wasn’t Bilic’s first game the opener of the 15/16 season when they beat us 2-0 at the Ems?). Let’s see what spin they try to put on it.

  19. Another awful start to game, one goal down before a single Arsenal player had broken sweat.

    What excuse can Wenger have for consistently failing to get the team ready for the start of the game.

  20. nerves. pressure. impact. not to lose. stressful period. he is rattling his sabre again, no wonder the players dont look at it.

  21. Orson Kaert,

    As it happens this is the quote from AW:

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “We were nervous and surprised by their start. I feared that we could start with the handbrake on because of the pressure we are under.

  22. Handbrakes? With the insanely high line it was more like starting with a broken handbrake.

  23. Not said much. Nothing new. Talked about a top 4 trophy again. Said we were technically off our game, but that we got it right mentally.

    If either of those that hit the post had gone in I think the team would have folded.

  24. “I am professional and I have shown great loyalty in the past. I love this club, I don’t know how long I will be here, I am clear in my head, that’s the most important thing. The decision will be soon.”

    Very strange quote from Wenger. He has decided but board has not agreed?

  25. Wavey,

    All the usual comments made an appearance, Wenger bingo cards being checked as we speak. As well as “handbrake” we had the number one favourite “mental strength” and of course “I have shown great loyalty” (another classic). Unfortunately although the game did nothing much to sway arguments one way or the other the fact that even his post match comments are so dull and predictable just adds to the sense that he has nothing new to contribute.

  26. keysersoze,

    Hmm, probably just the length of the deal to be agreed. My guess they are deciding if it’s two or three years, either party could be looking for the longer or shorter term. Given that even the simplest signings seem to take forever it’s probably just another example of AFC’s inability to conclude an agreement without dragging it out for months.

  27. Henry B

    nearly three years since dandan passed away.I miss him and often think of him.He was a very good friend.

    As to the game,a bad result for both sides.

    Monreal was also my man of the match and Ozil played as i
    f he had just lost a costly divorce case,

  28. Nothing new to be learned today, infact City remind me of us but with (overall) better players.

    Monreal was decent & Mustafi had his best game for a while but parts of the second half were like a testimonial.

    Once it became clear City were happy with a point maybe we could have pushed on a bit , but we’d most likely have left the back door open so no real complaints there.

    I think West Ham may be as much of a test as City were today as they’ll hit Carroll early with long balls (oo-err) & be a threat on set pieces.

  29. Great preview yogi

    Man City was the better team IMO but this was a must not lose game so we did what we needed. We have 10 games left to rescue 4th place. On paper that was potentially our most difficult game of the run in. If we can get a draw against ManU at home and spurs on the road and win 7 of the other 8 games it would put us 75 points which might be enough to finish 4th. It feels terrible to say this but there are times that I almost hope we finish outside of the top 4 because it might be the catalyst neeeded to end the Wenger era but the reality is he will be the manager next season irregardless and wishing for a bad result just feels wrong.

  30. Bill,

    Spuds away is the big one. Not only because we hate to lose against them but because it’s a chance to put perhaps the final nail in their title coffin and any Arsenal side worth their salt would bust a gut to do that.

  31. Andy

    I don’t think that game will be the critical game for our top 4 hopes. A draw would be a good result. Winning as many of those 8 games against the mid to lower table teams is the key. We have no control over what Chelsea and spurs do. I suspect Chelsea will win with or without our help.

  32. Bill,

    Are you sure about that? We’re playing spurs, stoke, southampton and Crystal palace with fat Sam away and then there’s some gruesome home games derbies and stuff (west ham).

    I think our fixture list is pretty horrendous🙁.

  33. Relying on others to fuck up if we’re hoping for a top 4 spot.

    Neville said after the game that a point against your direct competition is fine if the results around it have been good, but they’ve been shocking. So why does he continue to support Wenger? Everything Neville appears to believe as a football fan should mean that he would want Wenger to leave, but he continues to back him. Makes no sense at all.

  34. This is the sort of “eh” result that’s neither here or there.

    The only positive is we “somehow” did not lose the game. Couple of players had a good game, but that’s never enough playing a team like Man City.

    In fact, I think Man City is so stupid for not putting us under pressure right after the 5th minute goal. I think they would have scored 3 before half time not counting any Ospina saves.

    We remain mired in confusion in and out of the field and all thanks to Wenger and his Minions.

    ****Somebody with “Balls” do something or Y’all fuck off on the same plane out of Heathrow.

  35. We apparently have exactly the same record as at this stage last season. Can’t see us making it to second this season though. The usual suspects aren’t quite as accommodating as they were last season.

    Eight shots with only three on target. Very poor.

  36. What a great result. We didn’t lose…. Right, off to Limbo dance under that lowered bar again….

  37. Dukey,

    Since it was the first game we haven’t lost since beating the mighty Lincoln City, it was a good result and in keeping with our top four trophy mentality.

  38. Dukey,

    “What a great result. We didn’t lose…. Right, off to Limbo dance under that lowered bar again…”

    Yes, default mode will be ‘lower the bar’.

    Nobody in the Arsenal camp will be mentioning the title race or the Champions League.

    Everything will take a vague tone …”of course, we’ll fight for European football until the end”. If fifth or sixth we will still be embarking on an exciting European campaign – same as it ever was.

    If top six positions hold through the next month or so, the story will be us competing proudly with our great rivals, City and United. I doubt you will hear Chelsea, Spurs or Liverpool even mentioned.

    If we are fifth it will be underlined Manchester United with all their resources are still behind us, United will be Spurs for a season.

    If we are sixth, well everyone has to realize this is a new era with six powerhouses – be proud we are in the mix.

    And…if we pull something out of our butts and finish 4th…well, what a glorious, glorious season it has been.

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