View From The Enemy – A review of Arsenal ahead of Man City Final

So another big Final approaches for Arsenal, and yet again we are facing the League Champions, but this time it is in the League Cup which is a competition that Arsene Wenger has never won. So today’s View From The Enemy comes direct from the official Man City website, and features City’s official journalist Rob Pollard talking to the Daily Mirror’s John Cross, who is considered an expert on all things to do with Arsenal.

So here is their ARSENAL V CITY: EXPERT VIEW Read it and see what you think….

Pep Guardiola could lift his first trophy in English football at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal stand in Manchester City’s way and ahead of the Carabao Cup final we spoke to the Daily Mirror’s Chief Football Writer, John Cross, to get the inside track on Arsene Wenger’s men.

What’s your assessment of Arsenal’s season so far?
They’ve played well at times and they do reach a very good level and you start to think something might happen, but they’ve been inconsistent and there have been some poor performances.

They’ve been involved in some thrilling games and played so well at times, like against Manchester United at home and then they ended up losing.

It’s been a frustrating season for them.

Has the January transfer window improved the squad?
I think so. Getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez was a good bit of business if they can get him playing well.

He’s had one outstanding game and a couple of average ones.

The Sanchez replacement and the one that has really got Arsenal fans on their feet was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who, with his pace and excitement is a much more natural successor to Sanchez.

If the aim was to come out of the window stronger, then they achieved that. I think they should have signed a centre-half, but I guess Arsene Wenger’s make up is to go for attacking players.

But they did well, particularly with Aubameyang.

What have been the concerns for Arsenal?
There are a few issues defensively. Wenger started the season with a back three, but he’s never been particularly comfortable with that system, though the is a collection of players who are quite well suited to it.

Laurent Koscielny has not performed as well as previous years. Shkodran Mustafi is much more comfortable in a back three than with two centre-halves and Nacho Monreal has adapted well to playing on the left side of a three.

They’ve looked vulnerable with a back four, particularly as they’ve got attack minded full-backs.

The lack of a traditional holding midfielder has been an issue. Granit Xhaka is inclined to go forward.

He’s had good games but by instinct he is a box-to-box player rather than a sitting midfielder and that, when they’ve played a back four, has invited the opposition on to them.

What are your thoughts on Arsene Wenger’s decision to change ‘keepers for the final?
It’s a weird one with the ‘keepers and it’s the same at City.

To keep a good number two – David Ospina and Claudio Bravo are international goalkeepers – you’ve got to offer them something.

Last year in the FA Cup final, when he played instead of Petr Cech, I thought it would come back to haunt them, whereas now I think the gap is perhaps a little narrower.

I still think Cech is the better keeper, but Ospina is a good goalkeeper. I don’t think there is too much between Ospina and Bravo and they are both very good when it comes to penalties, if it goes that far.

Where do you think the game will be won and lost for Arsenal?
It’s very simplistic, but if City are at their best they will simply have far too much for Arsenal. They are a much better team.

Arsenal are massive underdogs and I think they will be hoping City have a bad day at the office and that they can really excel.

Midfield is where a lot of the damage will be done.

If you can’t pick Kevin De Bruyne up that is a massive issue and the way in which he plays behind the forward line but in front of the midfield is an area where it can potentially hurt Arsenal because they don’t have that traditional set-up.

They may try and pack the midfield. Earlier in the season they were using two midfielders and I think Wenger could do that again. He might gamble on Ramsey being fit because he has a fine record at Wembley and he is such a potent goal threat.

Even though he’s not fully fit I think he might risk him but I also think he’ll try pack that midfield to counteract City’s great strength in there. Going forward from midfield, City look irresistible to me.

How do you think Arsenal will line up?
Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Wilshere, Elneny; Ramsey, Ozil, Aubamayang.


  1. John Ibrahim says:

    Its very likely Pep will lift his first trophy….

    So fans can stop complaining

    it all depends on Ozil if he wants to defend and show his determination and create

  2. TH14atl says:

    No wide attackers/wingers/7s, so need to play the two forwards together and the midfielders in central midfield positions. Both FCB and Real Madrid achieving success with a tight diamond 442. If Arsene were flexible we could do the same, and potentially be dangerous with it once lacazette is healthy.
    Let welbeck and Auba rub up top together, mesut directly underneath at the 10; Ramey inside right, jack inside left, AMN (Xhaka) at the base. Width from hector and nacho, where both feel comfortable.
    For me that has players in comfortable positions where they can be successful. Shouldn’t beat city but could contend and make a chance.

    1. gotanidea says:

      Barcelona have Busquets, a great DM that also acts as a deep-lying playmaker, and Madrid have Casemiro that does the dirty works but is also very skillful and mobile. Perhaps Maitland-Niles can fulfill the role, but he needs more game time

      Madrid have Isco (he wears other number but he acts as a no 10) and Barcelona have Messi, but Ozil has different playing style. Arsenal need a no 10 like them, or players like Thiago, Silva and De Bruyne that have high work rate and mobility

      1. TH14atl says:

        Yes I agree we lack those players, sure. Thiago is my most favorite player in the world. Loved that kid’s game since he was youngster. But that’s not the point.
        Point is, given the players we have available to us, a 442 suits us more than player a 4231 or 343 that Arsene has been playin that forces players wide that don’t do anything useful there (Iwobi)

  3. gotanidea says:

    Wenger has been staying for too long in his comfort zone, that is why he cannot improve Arsenal. Guardiola on the other hand, is more adventurous, by moving to different clubs as a player and as a manager

    There was once when Guardiola wanted to learn directly from Wenger, when he was a player. But now it is Wenger that has to learn from younger managers like Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino

    1. Phil says:

      I hate that you have included Pochettino in this list but you are right.That hurts

  4. If we defend properly we will have a chance. If we go our usual gung-ho route then it’s a 5 or 6 goal drubbing at Wembley. If I could have my way, Bellerin and Iwobi would not be anywhere near the squad bus today…those two have regressed far back than my grandpa’s hairline! Total jokers who can’t beat their markers, complete simple passes and crosses or defend anything.

    1. Tatgooner says:

      I have never seen players as overrated as bellerin and wilshere.

      1. Abel says:

        Iwobi has not really regressed, it’s normal for a young player to have a difficult season after his breakout season. Just compare Dele Alli’s performance this season with last season.
        Iwobi can be criticised for lack of focus, poor decision making and poor passes but not inability to dribble his man. That’s his best asset, ability to dribble his way out of tight spaces.
        Bellerin on the other hand is really poor as an attacking threat for a winger who was converted to a right back.
        Probably suffering from not having an out and out winger in front of him to share the attacking duty and distract the defenders. He also lacks a D.M to slide into right back to cover him when he ventures forward.
        Wilshere, can dribble but is too slow physically and mentally (at the moment) to be effective in the middle. Hence needs to modify his game to that of a deep lying playmaker like Arteta ( in his latter days) to give him time and space to pick his passes and be more of an influence on games instead of always turning into a cul De sac whenever he tries to get away from an opponent.

        1. Phil says:

          You are absolutely correct.Iwobi has not “regressed”.Thats because he has always been this USELESS.
          For gods sake get real and stop trying to defend this player.
          Ask yourself this Question………….
          How many Premier League Trams would have Iwobi in their First 11?
          Start with Citeh at the Top and work your way down…………..I got to Brighton before I thought he would possibly get in their team and I’m not even sure on that.
          The point then is this…If he is not good enough for probably 17-18 of the other Premiership Team HOW FFS DOES HE EVEN GET IN THE DOOR AS A F**KiING SPECTATOR ON MATCH DAYS LET ALONE PLAY.

  5. Gily says:

    That boy Iwobi is a gem. Just because he is not scoring goals, you people are always on his neck forcing him to lose confidence. Please leave the boy alone, he plays excellently well.

    1. Gily says:

      People tend not to value what they have, until it is lost. If he was playing for another team, most people here calling for his head might be begging for him to be bought at all costs. Now he is playing for arsenal, every body wants him dead the next minute. It is unfair how fans here think and talk – so unreasonably flexible.

      1. Phil says:


        1. Gily says:

          Done that. He said…perfectly ok, nothing wrong with me.

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            Iwobi hasn’t got a brain to be a decent player. Only under stubborn Arsene Wenger would this joke of a footballer get a game, Sorry mate, agree with Phil.

  6. Arsene out says:

    I think in our whole squad we dont have RW or LW, selling both chamberlain and walcott, was not a good idea. 3-4-3 is not good idea without a strong DM
    4-2-3-1 needs RM and LM.
    4-4-2 needs two strong DM
    Diamond 4-1-2-1-2 is the best option but it needs a strong DM (why we sell couqlin?!!!)

  7. Arsene out says:

    My point was we desperately need a DM but mark my word arsene will not buy one

Comments are closed