The radical changes Arsenal need to make to get a result at Man City

It’s time for some radical changes. by Konstantin Mitov

Well lovely Arsenal people, here we are again. A prize is right there in our hands and we’re giving it away. Now we need a win at City. We don’t perform well under pressure, and there’s hardly a more difficult place to need a win, but we can’t just lie down and die.

Arteta has the biggest job in his managerial career lifting the players up. The outlook of the team was poor after Southampton, lying on the ground, heads in their hands. We look mentally beaten. The reason we took 3 points from 9 was because we lost our heads, not because the opposition was great. Wednesday you’ll see a battle against a great team and if we continue to leak easy goals we are dead.

The defense, just like our mentality, needs to fix up fast. Holding is playing that game wether we like it or not, but at left back we need to go for Tierney. This floating left back turned midfielder has left our left hand side isolated. We either move Zinny in midfield instead of Vieira who was dreadful again, or we just drop him and put Jorginho next to Partey. Our defense needs more stability.

We also need experience. And J5 is a player who’s won CL and Euro finals. There’s also the option to drop Partey for J5 if Xhaka is fit, but I’d go for a double DM pivot. When Party plays well it’s amazing, but when he’s off, he might as well be off the pitch. At City we need a perfect performance.

Up front despite the fact that we’ve scored 7 goals in our last 3 games which should’ve been enough to win all 3, not all is great. Only Martinelli deserves his spot right now. You keep Odegaard, because there are no alternatives really, then there’s Saka and Jesus.

Both haven’t been great. And actually since we’ve dropped Trossard from the starting 11 we’ve not won a game. Now it’s whether we drop Jesus or Saka. Gabriel Jesus might be 3/3 but he’s also missed some silly chances. Also he’s too emotional, just like Thierry said it and we’ll need calm heads. Then again Saka has been awful. I know he’s carried this team for 3 seasons, but if you want to win the title you need to be ruthless.

And Arteta has failed us big time with this. We needed a sub at half time against the Saints. There’s a trust issue between Arteta and some players, and that’s why when one cog out of of our starting 11 is out, the entire machine breaks.

This is where Pep has been absolutely brilliant. Remember how De Bruyne was dropped around Christmas for City? People thought Pep was mad, but guess what, KDB raised his level and is now fresh for the critical part of the season in his best form. We failed to do that because we don’t trust the bench. Our subs are always late.

Although Fabio Vieira was terrible and I wouldn’t use him again this season if we have any hopes of winning the league after Wednesday, I agree with Arteta that he hasn’t had any minutes. We shouldn’t be integrating him at the business end of the season. That’s why there are no alternatives for Saka, even though he’s been poor.

Finally, there were people who celebrated exiting the cups to focus on the main goal, well now we need to prove it wasn’t all for nothing. When Arteta said he loves the players I felt disappointed. I love them too, but we are showing softness when the going gets tough the tough need to get going.

If I had to pick the team against City, although I’m very tempted to drop him, Ramsdale starts, Ben white, Gabriel, Holding and KT go in defense. A double pivot of TP and J5 with Odegaard in front then Martinelli, Saka and Trossard start.

I don’t want to hear excuses. If we can snatch a draw, I’d take it and hope they drop points somewhere – although I doubt it. If we lose this title it won’t be in the Man City game though. I hope I am wrong, I really am, but we need to be real, we’ve left ourselves a mountain to climb. Fake positivity is not what will get a result at City.

I think they nwill thump us 4:1, because this is a game of character, and when it comes to pressure moments we’ve crumbled, wether you like to hear it or not it’s the facts. It’s been 8 years since we’ve beaten City, it will take a miracle now, but let’s see.

Arteta proud of our comeback after Arsenal 3-3 Southampton

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  1. Arteta –


    Martinelli. Odegaard. Saka.

    Xhaka. Partey.

    Zinchenko. Gabriel. Holding. White.


  2. Better keep it simple at the Etihad and push for corner situations. I think a simple counter-attacking 3-4-3 formation will be good for that purpose, but we don’t have a pacey attacking RWB in the squad

    Because of the player types in our squad, I’m sure Arteta will stick to the inverted-LB tactic. If we lose against Man City for the umpteenth time, I hope Arteta and Edu will finally realize the importance of having a dominant CF like Haaland and Watkins

  3. I agree with GAI that changing things around too much might well be counterproductive. At the away fixtures we were holding a commanding lead and then a couple of incidents gave them the ‘yips’ They did come back from being 2 goals behind which showed there was a fighting spirit but that was against a struggling side who had been gifted a goal and felt they could win.

    Is there sufficient confidence amongst them to believe they can beat City? Having thought that the players being a year older and wiser would not succumb to nerves, I think now that the pressure is still very much in the mix. How Arteta sorts that out I don’t know

  4. You obviously don’t watch our games Konstantin, if you think Zaka has been playing poorly.

    What he does, is to draw a minimum of two players to try and stop him creating by which ever means possible.
    That’s why full backs are getting booked (the same with Martinelli) on a regular basis.
    It was Zaka, after beating the defender, who crossed the ball for our first goal against Southampton.

    As for the rest of your article, you claim that there seems to be an issue with certain players and you, along with others, also accused Arsene Wenger of having his “favourites” – something that I don’t believe either man has / had.

    My opinion is that MA believed we would beat Southampton and “rested” players who will be selected for the city game… it fell apart in the first 27 seconds, when Ramsdale made his mistake, followed by Gabriel getting outsmarted by Walcott for the second.

    It’s time for Tierney to return, along with Trossard, Xhaka and use their collective experience to counter city…. but that’s just my personal opinion and MA knows his players a lot more than I and you do.

  5. I think you are spot on Ken.Having watched an under strength City yesterday we need to flood the middle of the park even if it is at the expense of leaving out one of our front three players.The number of goals being conceded by keepers trying to be outfield players is growing rapidly and I sincerely hope Ramsdale is told to refrain from taking any risks in a match where a draw would be a good result.

  6. Playing a back 3 ( as city will) consisting of Tierney Gabriel and White is so solid and opens up many variations of strong formations of our players that are fit but Arteta will not do it. Im afraid Arteta does not have that in him, he doesn’t tinker, he like same. Pep tinkers and gets results. He has been criticised in the pas for inventing the sweeper keeper, the false nine etc but he gets results. Haarland being HIS massive change this season to win the Champions league?

      1. To, only one single factor would go against Arsenal not winning or drawing at City: Pschological State of mind of the players eventually selected by the coach. If they go with ease and in full control of their faculties, especially in the opening minutes of the game, the pressure transfers to City automatically

  7. Could not agree more Ken1945. Radical changes seems abit over the top. Sounds as though Konstantin is referring to the Radical far left of a government party. However,, I would bring in Tierney as left fullback. I still believe Manchester City will exploit the left hand side whether Tierney or Zinchenko play there. I watched the match previously when Tierney played for Scotland against Spain. Tierney was brilliant. I can see Haaland running at Rob Holding to draw an early yellow card. Holding needs to be street wise and not get sucked into stupidity. Gabriel Magalhaes is another hot head. He can be a walking time bomb at the best of times. Often guilty of making spur of the moment decisions. I’m expecting City to niggle Granit Xhaka throughout the match for a reaction. Xhaka has to keep his head. Odegaard has to show up. He tends to go missing in action in big matches. Partey needs to bring his footballing brain to the match. I don’t care too much about his off field dilemma. If that’s on his mind, he may as well stay at home. Anything can happen on Wednesday. Football is a funny game. Man City are favourites, and rightly so, they deserve to be. Nearly every Pundit is predicting Man City to white wash Arsenal. I’d prefer Arsenal to be the under dogs. Cornered and wounded dogs can be the most dangerous of beasts

    1. It isn’t necessarily radical changes but just changes that make the difference. The ostracising of Tierney, the inclusion of Viera for Xhaka, the way Trossard has been reduced to sub and the way he has allowed or played jesus. Not using White as a center back (not just recently) when either saliba or Gabriel was missing. Not utilising Jorghino for cover. It isn’t necessarily radical but obvious.

        1. I said if you cant play Tomiasu or a n other, you go three at the back. Can jorghino play RB? THAT isn’t my problem, the problem is the managers to sort it.

  8. Hmmm, City are going to come at us with everything, I really wish Saliba would be fit,
    Our midfield would be our making or our destruction, Odegaard seems to be start slow nowadays, I really would prefer he plays 2nd half, apart from Zinchenko’s midfield skills, Tierney is faster, better as a defender and stronger,
    I also remember Ake blocked Saka totally last time, hopefully we have Trossard playing inplace of Odegaard, to add more pace ,
    My prefered lineup against City:


  9. My preferred formation
    White Holding Gabriel
    Partey Jorginho
    Saka Odegaard Xhaka/Zini Martinelli

    Odegaard dropping deep to receive from the 2 pivot and Xhaka making late runs. Or Zini dropping deep (if Xhaka is not fit) and Odagaard making runs. Tactic instruction from the coach should be defensive, quick release of the ball for counter attack and more shots from Odegaard and Xhaka. At no point should Jesus be anywhere in our half even if we are facing attacks or drop deep when we have the ball. He has to be our first outlet on the counter. Saka and Martinelli will have to do a lot of running both in defense and attack. Our target should be a draw but if we have opportunity to win then we take it. Odegaard have to be imposing in that game. He will be our key to success.

  10. We cant play Holding against City, not because he cant manage Haaland, i think he probably could but because it will be a technical game and Holding is too agricultural. We 100% can not play Viera and we cant play Pep with “his” inverted full back idea. Zinchenko will play but he cant play left back.

    1. @Reggie
      Agree with you about Viera and that Holding is agricultural. But what is the alternative.
      White in his place: I don’t rate him as a CB.
      I have been persuaded with some of the fans here that too much tweaking means they are not going to know their roles properly. So I would go for the same formation but with 1 difference in that we have Tierney @ LB.
      4: White Holding Gabriel Tierney
      2: Partey Zinchenko/Jorginho
      3: Saka Odegaard Martinelli
      1: Trossard/Jesus.

      Hope MA shows the tweet by Haaland immediately after the Southampton game that states: MOOD STILL as an incentive to motivate the Arsenal players.

      1. Aha, you think they know their roles last 3 games. Nothing to lose because we have not looked good for a few weeks. I dont trust Holding in technical games.

  11. When will people understand that under our usual tactics Tierney cannot fill the Zinchenko role. Does not have the movement/vision/passing range. Yes, he defends better, but we need to win. Z gives us the midfield overload and pushes others forward while leaving the left side open. This is what has gotten us this far. Every system has a flaw and is beatable. Pep’s systems are beatable – that’s why City is yet to win the CL. Can Arsenal beat City? Let’s hope so.

    1. But Zinchenko and the system is getting mullered now and it clearly is a weak point. People have been saying for a while now, change the system and cut out the weakness in defence. Yes, it got us here but yes now it is failing.

  12. Maybe we shouldnt play out from the back quite as much in this one.The City press will cause a lot of nervousness and weve already seen mistakes from this.

  13. “We are all doomed I tell ya”, the half-empty poster is back, and the negativity that pours out is a joke, this team has excelled so much this season, we have improved so much from last season yet some can’t see that, all they do is concentrate on the negative aspects, not the positives which are so evident to see to anyone. I have my ticket for the game and if anyone can do it, it is us, this team will be right up for it If we finish as runners up I will take that, no one could have predicted the way we have been this season and to finish second will be no disgrace to a team that has more money, more experienced and a squad of an abundance of quality players. Arsenal has got this far with virtually the same eleven…not bad eh?

    1. @ F
      I hope you are right and we get a win on wednesday. Right now I do not want to be too optimistic but pragmatic and would take a draw to close a disappointing Apr. Hope for a great May and a 2 slip ups by Man City out of 8 games that they have to play. We need to force Man City to win their last game away @ Brentford.
      What I do not want is a gung Ho tactic and we are 3-0 down at halftime. Then the title race is really over. Put the pressure on them to make the mistakes.
      Double pivot holding midfielders to protect the back 4 and either MO or Trossard dropping back to flood the midfield when they have possession.

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