Tomorrow will be a big test for the new look Arsenal as they head out north to take on champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. We have not had much success against them ever since they became a mega rich club, losing or drawing our matches both home and away. However, we finally beat them 1-0 the last time we met which was at the Emirates back in March courtesy of a Mikael Arteta’s goal.
Since then, Manchester City has not seen much change especially to their first team with only Javi Garcia making regular appearances in the team. On the other hand, Arsenal has seen a whole world of change, losing their top striker and defensive midfielders while gaining three experience replacements. In addition, the appointment of Steve Bould has brought much needed steel to the Gunners’ often fragile defense.
The Gunners are going into the match tomorrow on better form that Manchester City, having not lost this season. We also got a morale boosting win of Montpellier in the Champions League on Tuesday while Manchester City suffered an energy sapping defeat at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid. Manchester City is also not showing good form in the league with labored victories against Southampton and Queens Park Rangers. Therefore, there is every sign that it will be a good match for Arsenal to overcome the recent losing streak against this team.
This match will also be a good test for the more resolute Arsenal defense this season. So far, the boys have only conceded 1 goal but Manchester City is likely to be a whole different kettle altogether. Roberto Mancini will like unleash his twin Argentinian terrors, Aguero and Tevez against the Arsenal defense. It will be interesting to see who Arsene Wenger picks for the centre pairing; He will probably go with the current success formula of Mertersacker and Vermaelen although this partnership may be a problem given the German’s lack of speed. I I would prefer Koscielny to partner Vermaelen in the middle but I would also be reluctant to change a working partnership so I understand the conundrum the manager must have.
Personally, I think the key for this match will be the battle between Abou Diaby and Yaya Toure. Both players are the key personnel in their team and the battle in midfield will likely determine the outcome of the match. We have been missing Diaby all these while but he has shown his value in the performances against Liverpool and Montpellier. The Frenchman has also a tendency to go missing after a few good games so let’s just hope he can maintain his consistency this time around.