Sunday’s game against Manchester City is almost upon us.
In addition to our extensive pre-match coverage of the game, we’ve gotten our writers together for a short prediction on how they think the game will pan out.
Well, they were meant to be short.
And if you think we’re just going to throw these predictions out there and then forget about them, fear not. On Monday we’ll be back taking a look at how we did and laughing at the person who got it wrong more than anyone else.
Lee Hurley Draw 2-2
Every time I think Arsenal have a point to prove they fail miserably. That being said I do think that *one* of these times they have to be able to hold it together and I’m putting my money on Sunday.
A draw won’t stop the questions being asked about why Arsenal can’t win against the top sides, especially away from home, but ‘first, do not lose!’ should certainly be the order of the day.
Not losing heavily is a must.
Arsenal are as capable of winning this game as they are of losing it 6-0.
So, that’ll be a draw then. 2-2.
Helen Trantum Win 3-2
Games between Arsenal and Man City are always interesting – since the arrival of the oil money City have typically taken a conservative approach to these games, favouring a strong probability of a point over the chance of taking all three. In that time, there have been five draws in 13 games, but where there has been a decisive outcome, it has tended to fall in favour of the home teams, with just two away wins.
During Hughes and Mancini’s tenures, City’s rather negative approach despite Arsenal’s poor ‘big game form’ saw ten clean sheets, including two 0-0s and three 1-0s, and an average of 2.0 goals per game. Since Pellegrini’s arrival however, City have adopted a more expansive style and the head-to-heads are averaging a whopping 5.0 goals per game.
The possible inclusion of three ex-Gunners adds some spice to an already exciting fixture, although I don’t anticipate any of them having a strong impact on the game. Pellegrini has shown signs of tightening up against the stronger sides in recent months, but he’ll surely know that with Arsenal’s record in the big games this season hovering at a horrible five points from six games, this game is in many ways a must-win for City if they are to keep pace with Chel$ki. I expect City to come out fast, and leave gaps at the back for us to exploit.
My head says an entertaining 2-2 draw with City equalising late on to deny us, but my heart says Arsenal to snatch it 3-2 with the winner scored by Walcott running onto an Ozil through ball.
When it comes to Arsenal, my heart always wins: 3-2 Arsenal.
Stephen Bradley Draw 0-0
Man City haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games. Arsenal’s last away clean sheet was in November. Man City will have Aguero back in their team, we should have Özil, Theo and Ramsey involved at some point. All the signs point towards a free-flowing, entertaining game, full of attacking flair and technical ability.
Paul Williams Defeat 3-1
In one way, previewing our trip to Manchester City is quite easy. In another, it might prove to be a little bit tricky.
Gambling logic, apparently, holds that the history of a fixture is more important than current form. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Arsenal’s tussles with the other Manchester side over the last few years. No matter what kind of form the two teams are in when they meet, you can virtually guarantee a United win.
So, if we apply this to our recent fixtures at the Etihad, what do we get? A drubbing last year, a very creditable the draw the year before, a defeat a year before that. You have go back to the era of Cognitive Dissonance for our last win in Manchester. Not so long ago maybe, but long enough. Ours is not a record that inspires confidence this time around- even though the Etihad is not now the fortress it once was.
However, we do have the cavalry coming back. Last weekend saw the return of Mesut Ozil, whilst Aaron Ramsey was on the bench and Theo Walcott got another 20 minutes under his belt. We now have options in both midfield and attack. I don’t know how you feel about this, but if I was the manager (yes, I know…), I would keep faith with Francis Coquelin and bring Ramsey straight back into midfield, as a horses-for-courses type selection. I think that’s a combination which offers us a little bit of everything in midfield and I suspect Ramsey’s power will be more useful than the speed of Tomas Rosicky. It may not be enough, but that’s what I’d do. With Santi Cazorla in behind a front three of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the options we have on the bench, I would be reasonably confident of getting a result- if Manchester City didn’t also have Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany riding to their rescue.
The optimist in me wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal finally made a statement against one of their top 4 rivals.
However, the realist in me expects a defeat, probably a noble one.
Sylvain Jamet– Draw 2-2 with a dodgy red card
I think the main problem on the day will be defending against a proteiform Man City attacking system. I believe having only one defensive midfielder will seriously expose the Arsenal defence to City’s attacking threat, especially in transition where City have the players to find the killer vertical pass through players like David Silva. You don’t want them to release Aguero running behind the center backs.
City have not kept a clean sheet in the last four games and drawn two out three, so there are clear weaknesses in their armoury. With Arsenal unable to keep a clean sheet in five out of the last six games, I would expect a lot of goals being scored (at least four) and I certainly expect Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez to trouble the City defence with Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain backing them up.
The match will be decided by Mike Dean’s performance on the day as his decisions will surely influence the final result.
A 2-2 draw with a dodgy red card thrown in by Dean.
Lewis Ambrose Draw 1-1
Until recently I’ve remained optimistic going into the big games but a win on Sunday would surprise me.
City, conveniently, have Agüero returning while we’re still likely to field Coquelin (/Flamini/both), and will now be without Debuchy.
Having said, that our individual talent alone has the ability to produce moments against any defence – let alone one which already has it’s shaky moments. I really think having Özil and Walcott (probably) on the bench could be huge.
If we take the lead then I wouldn’t rule anything out but I’ll be (in my opinion) cautiously optimistic: 1-1.
Nia Griffiths Draw 2-2
Recent history has taught me to be pretty pessimistic when it comes to Arsenal and big fixtures. Even when we’ve played relatively well, we seem to consistently manage to lose out on all three points – or any at all.
After the Community Shield I was instilled with a new sense of hope; I’m 99% sure ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone was playing in the background at one point (in my head at least). However, then 2-2 happened at the Emirates and I was back to feeling as if we had something missing.
Saying this, I’m not feeling particular nervous about Sunday (usually a bad sign, but let’s just go with it). We seem to have a spring in our step, the momentum of results and an air of quiet confidence. I don’t think we’ll win at the Etihad, nor do I think we’ll lose.
I reckon another ‘thrilling’ 2-2 draw may be on the cards.
Andi Foster Draw 1-1
You have to look back to 2010 to find the last time that Arsenal beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and I don’t think that record will improve this weekend.
Manchester City have only lost once at the Etihad this season, whereas Arsenal have found a number of troubles on the road (losing three of their last six games). It goes without saying that Arsenal will have to be at their best to beat City, but that best is something that has already only been produced sporadically this season.
Injuries have taken their toll and the entire squad will be wrapped in cotton wool for this game.
I’m afraid to say that no matter how I look at it I can’t see an Arsenal victory – and that’s down to the inevitable defensive disaster. Manchester City haven’t won a Premiership game without Yaya Toure since April though – so I guess that’s a positive.
I’ll go for a (probably too optimistic) 1-1 draw.