Considering that Arsenal are going to be at the Etihad facing Pep Guardiola and his new Man City side, I am still reasonably confident that the Gunners will be getting something out of the game. The Cityzens have not yet adapted to Pep’s style and tactics and they have been found out by both Chelsea and Leicester recently, and Arsenal on their day are as good if not better than those two.
Arsenal’s defeat at Everton was a little hard to take, but Wenger is always a master at getting his players ready to bounce back, as Wenger said on Arsenal.com: “You could see that three games out of four away from home [took its toll] and it was a difficult week. But I cannot fault the attitude and that’s what we want to keep from the game. We know we are on a long-term target and that we have to go through some disappointments. We have to live with that and recover and prepare for the next one.
“We have done extremely well, but what is important in football is that you respond and that we focus to do better in the future. It’s a bit difficult to accept the result on Tuesday but many teams can drop points at Everton. We are a strong team away from home and that’s what we want to show straight away again at Manchester City.”
“Look, the perfect game is the next one – always,” Wenger continued. “When you’ve had a defeat, I think a defeat should not hit the confidence we have. It should just hit the pride we have and that makes us respond well.”
Le Prof got a lot of stick for not making full use of his squad by rotating at Goodison Park, and knowing how stubborn he is I am nearly certain that he will stick with the same team this week, but at least they have had 5 days to recover and they will all be eager to get things right this time around. So this is my easy team prediction…
Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal
Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain
It is an amazing statistic that Petr Cech, in all his years in the Premier League, has never conceded in 8 consecutive matches ever, and our current run has seen us go without a clean sheet for 7 up til now. Arsene emphasised how important Cech’s performance will be today. “Yes, of course [that hurts his pride] and I think that at the moment that’s where we can improve and that’s what we want to focus on,” said Wenger. “We have to keep more clean sheets than we do at the moment.
“But Petr has done extremely well. In a team like ours you have one or two saves to make in every game, and that means he has needed talent, of course, but as well focus and concentration to do that, to stay in the game when it looks like you will not be involved a lot. He has, in every single game, made one or two decisive saves.”
There are bumps in the road in every season and Wenger thinks Cech – with four Premier League titles to his name – can be a calming influence in difficult times.
“His experience helps because he has seen that before,” Wenger concluded. “Experienced players [like Petr] can adjust the level of disappointment and provoke as well the response that you want, without the players forgetting how good they are.”
I am pretty sure our Number One will extra keen to keep Man City out, and without Aguero around his task will be a little easier than usual. I think he will manage it while Sanchez creates havoc down the other end. So my score prediction is 2-0 to the mighty Gunners!
Onwards and Upwards!