Arsenal and Man City will hopefully face off at the Emirates Stadium tonight, once the weather doesn’t get the better of the game. The snow could be an issue, but hopefully it won’t be too bad. The pitch should easily be able to handle it, but the concern is about the surrounding areas of the stadium, with supporter safety the main issue. Transport could also be affected, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I think this will be the last game Arsenal will want to play to be honest, after they were beaten 3-0 by Man City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final. They just didn’t show up, and it was an embarrassing performance from them. They barely showed any fight in the game, which was so disappointing. It’s one thing losing to the better team, but it’s another thing when your players barely seem to care and let their heads drop and stroll around the pitch like the Gunners did on Sunday. They were atrocious, awful, pathetic, or what ever other word you want to use to describe bad. Any word fits the bill to be honest.
Maybe they’ll have fire in their bellies and want to put things right today. Maybe they’ll show up and put in their best performance of the season and win tonight. Maybe they’ll go out there and fight for each today and prove to people that they’re willing to play for their manager and their Arsenal shirts. But they’re all big maybes. Maybe they’ll go out with their heads down again and get another hammering. Maybe they’ll show once again that they’re not up to the standard required. I really think it could go either way to be honest. This Arsenal side is so odd. Some weeks we see a brilliant performance from them, and other weeks they just don’t show up. They haven’t convinced anybody that they can play well consistently this season.
They do have a decent home record though, with Man Utd being the only side to beat them at the Emirates this season. Only Man City and Man Utd have a better home record than the Gunners. They seem to like the comfort of their own ground, and that could play a big part in their game tonight. I think the top four is out of reach for them now, as they’re 10 points behind Spurs, who are fourth, albeit with a game in hand. I can’t see them being good enough for the rest of the season to make that deficit up. The Europa League is their best chance of qualifying for the Champions League at this stage, but even that will be a real struggle for them. Winning tonight would give them some real confidence ahead of the end of the season though, and that could help them turn their fortunes around.
Arsene Wenger spoke to Arsenal’s official website, and said: “I felt it was a very tight game until the 2-0 [on Sunday]. When you look at the end of the game, Man City had three shots on target and we had two. So overall, I believe that we have to turn the decisive moments in our favour [this time] and play with more freedom than we did. I think we played a bit apprehensively and that is important that we go into the game with that force that is part of our game and our philosophy.
“Well, when you do not get the result, it’s part of our job. Part of our job is to respond and to focus on the next game. You want only to win games, it’s not always possible, so it’s the way you respond. I believe that [we need to] analyse well, focus on the next one and respond together in a united way, which his part of our philosophy at the club.”
Arsenal will be without Nacho Monreal, who injured his back in Sunday’s game. They seem to have everybody else fit though, apart from Santi Cazorla.Man City will be going into this game licking their lips at the prospect of facing this Arsenal side again. They had no problems at all winning the Carabao Cup against the Gunners on Sunday, and didn’t even play near their best. If they had decided to turn the screw in that game, they could have been looking at scoring five or six. They’ll know that they can win this one once they turn up and play well again today, and will extend their lead at the top of the table to 16 points if they do.
The gulf in class between these sides in shown in the table, with Man City sitting 27 points ahead of Arsenal. City are by far the best team in England, and basically have the Premier League wrapped up. Europe is where they’ll be tested now, and they definitely have the talent to win the Champions League as well. It will be difficult, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how they do when they come up against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but you can’t write them off.
They have to be careful tonight at the same time though. They’ll know Arsenal won’t be as bad as they were on Sunday, and it could be a tricky game tonight. If they show up and play their best football it won’t matter how Arsenal play though, because they just won’t be able to handle City. They would comfortably beat any side in the league when they’re at their best, so we’ll see what they’re like tonight. I’d be very surprised if they didn’t win tonight against an Arsenal side that are down in the dumps with no confidence, but you never know.
Pep Guardiola spoke about the game, and he told Man City’s official website: “The league is constant.
“The players know that. They know how important the league is for the club.
“We are always focused and we know how tough it will be until the end of the season.
“Arsenal is always a hard game. Maybe they are not consistent but at home they are so strong.”
Man City will welcome Raheem Sterling back from injury soon, but this game is likely to come too early for him. Fernandinho will also miss out, after the midfielder suffered a hamstring strain on Sunday.
I think this game will be interesting to be honest. I’m looking forward to seeing how Arsenal play, and whether they show up or not. They’re going to have to be absolutely brilliant if they’re going to get anything from this game, and I’m not sure whether they’re capable of that at the moment. I remember they played Spurs at the Emirates earlier in the season, and they were brilliant. They haven’t recreated a performance like that since, but that’s what they’ll be trying to do tonight. You can’t completely write them off, as they’ll be going out there with something to prove, but Man City should win this game. They really should be far too strong for the Gunners, and should win comfortably. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
The team news will be out at 6:45pm, if the game goes ahead. That will be up here as well. You can follow the game with me on Twitter. Enjoy the game, and stay safe if you’re traveling to it!