Arsenal vs Manchester City preview: Old Gunners return for Cup. Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on November 29, 2011 4:45
Arsenal today play one of their most important games of the season as they host Manchester City, in the Carling Cup.
Before moving on to today’s game, a few words on the Fulham one, a game that showed that the so-called big squad available to Arsene is yet to show that it is a big one in terms of quality and with the Christmas period fast approaching, this is of course a concern.
To get a draw against a very good Fulham side is no disaster after all the positive results we had recently but let’s not forget that we dropped so many points at the start of the season that, simply put, we cannot afford to drop anymore.
In a way, those believing that the season-start crisis is over need to think again as it is when you get results like Saturday’s that you fully understand how much we are suffering and how much we will suffer the consequences of an embarrassing start to the season.
Also, a lot has been said on Andrey Arshavin and his umpteenth poor performance and with Gervinho leaving in January for the African Nations Cup, one has to wonder who will take over on the left wing since the Russian, apparently, is proving George Graham and his “poor buy” statement right.
Make no mistake, when Andrey signed, many considered him as a perfect fit for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger’s squad and he was probably the reason why we qualified for the Champions League when he joined in the 2009 January transfer window. But, as the man himself said, one good game every two months is not enough and as it’s been almost always the case with many Arsenal players over the last few seasons, consistency is the key.
One player who is finally delivering on a consistent basis is Theo Walcott. Together with Wojciech Szczesny, Theo was maybe the only one satisfied with his Fulham performance as he did his job to perfection and it’s great to see young Theo proving his critics wrong, including myself of course.
To conclude, Fulham showed that a confident squad, a quality squad and having in your team the one who could easily be described as the best striker in the world, is not enough. And the sooner our manager and the players understand this, the sooner we will avoid surprises like the one we witnessed against the Cottagers.
But on to City. Only a fool would consider this game as an easy one and considering that it’s a knock-out type of game, we could indeed be out of the competition when the referee blows his final whistle.
Not trying to be negative of course, I’m just saying that when we rest people we replace them with players you would expect to see on the bench whilst Manchester City, oh well, when they replace players they unleash the likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Edin Džeko. Nice bench to have.
But anyway. Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure could all feature today at the Emirates and of course it will be nice to see the warm welcome these three will receive, especially the first of the two Frenchman. Yeah … sure.
As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Today’s game is a tricky one for Arsene, for a number of reasons. Rotation is the first since many players – as we saw on Saturday – need proper rest ahead of next month’s busy schedule. But, it’s City we are facing and if we start with a weak side we could easily be humiliated as it was the case in 2009 when they eased past us by three goals to nil.
In my opinion, we can opt for eleven players who would allow some regulars to rest but to also provide quality on the pitch.
For me, Lukasz should start in goal with Johan and Sebastien in central defence and Andre and Laurent on the wings. Many will not want Sebastien to start but remember that with Johan he had a number of very good performances last season, such as the extremely solid one away against Wolves.
In midfield, Yossi, Tomas and Abou should all feature, the first two to bring experience and Abou in order to assess his fitness level. Young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should complete the line-up in the right.
Up front, I would go for Park and Marouane. Funnily enough, I believe that these two could do well together with the Moroccan shielding the ball and doing the dirty work in the air with the South Korean’s job to of course score goals when given the opportunity.
And then sure, the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Robin van Persie could make an appearance in the second half if things are not going according to plan although to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene lets this Cup go as ultimately we know that the EPL and the Champions League are our two main objectives of the season.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
As always, tune in for team line-ups, streaming links, half time and full time reports, post-match thoughts, video highlights and what the press is writing. And of course, do contribute if you want to by making use of the comment box available at the bottom of the post as it’s always nice to hear your opinion. And as a final note, if you want to go one step further than just leaving a comment and want to have your articles published on our website, take a look here for more information.
And of course, don’t forget you’re still in time to pick your preferred team for this game. And when the final whistle blows, don’t forget to rate the players, comment on their performances and share your personal ratings with your friends. All this and more, available at http://www.arsenal-interactive.com.