Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday, Daily Cannon brings you the lowdown on the opposition.
We’ve already looked at Everything you need to know about Manchester City. Our build up to the big game continues with a look at three of City’s players – their star player, their player who would improve Arsenal the most, and their biggest liability. Enjoy!
Star Player: Sergio Aguero
We’ve all seen the posts on Twitter – RT for Hazard, Fav for Sanchez. It’s easy to forget that City too have a player who is of that same stand-out quality, a world class operator.
Perhaps it is a case of there being no third option on a restricted media such as Twitter, as emphasised by the efforts to do a “people’s ballon d’or” vote. More likely though, as with Aaron Ramsey last season, City’s very own pocket rocket has drifted out of public conscience as a result of injury. Dangerous, since Aguero is at his most effective when he’s ghosting around unseen.
Advocates of fantasy football will recognise the feeling – a game where you’re more interested in an individual player than the overall game. My real appreciation of Aguero started after watching the City vs Tottnumb game earlier this season where Aguero scored all 4 and missed a penalty. He was my fantasy captain.
And yet it was the chances he didn’t convert or even get in the first place which gripped my attention the most. Even when he’s rusty, playing poorly or hampered by injury, still Aguero gets more chances than most strikers on top form. But his movement and ability to find space in the box is second to none, and that means that even when he’s quiet, he is so important because of how defences react to cover his potential threat – he’s a classic distraction.
Add to that his clinical finishing, and it’s easy to see why City are half the team they can be without Aguero.
How typical then that he has returned from injury just in time to face Arsenal.
Player Who Would Improve Arsenal Most: Vincent Kompany
It’s hard to look past Sergio Aguero in the City squad for a player who could make the greatest impact, but Arsenal are one of the few teams who can boast to be similarly well-endowed up top. Instead, we turn to the defensive rock who captains his national team as well as the current PL champions: Vincent Kompany.
A no nonsense and decisive defender, Kompany is hugely proactive in snuffing out threats, identifying and then owning situations to get his team back on the front foot again. He’s a presence at both ends of the pitch who clearly is a strong personality and an inspirational leader. Off the field too, he comes across as passionate but eloquent whether in press conferences or as a pundit.
He can be over-aggressive at times, certainly he forces referees to make decisions and can give away dangerous fouls because of the risks he takes on occasion. He is also starting to display a certain susceptibility to injury which would have conspiracy theorists testing him for Arsenal DNA.
However, he brings a sense of calm and control to any defence which has been seriously lacking for Arsenal, particularly in big games. Ultimately he brings confidence to those he plays alongside but he also holds his teammates to his high standards. Therefore he’s without question the City player I would most like to add to the Arsenal squad.
Biggest Liability: Eliaquim Mangala
Imagine you run a football team, and you have £32m to spend. Imagine you have the choice between purchasing Alexis Sanchez or Eliaquim Mangala. There’s only one right answer here.
The 23 year old French defender signed for Man City last summer from Porto to become the most expensive defender in British history. It’s fair to say he’s had a baptism of fire and rarely looked worth a tenth of his pricy £32m transfer fee.
Early on he conceded a penalty and scored an own goal at Hull, had another nightmare game at West Ham, before seeing red at Southampton. Just as he seemed to be acclimatising to the Premier League, he then had a shocker at home to Burnley in a game where he took one of his own players out and got tied in knots by Danny Ings. Let that sink in for a moment.
It seems that Mangala likes a scrap, he likes to dive in and commit. Not so very different then from his captain Kompany. But unfortunately for him, his timing is nowhere near as refined and as soon as he has any time to think, that’s when disaster strikes. Just as with Fazio at Tottnumb, it is at these moments that his lack of composure and technique are brutally exposed and panic sets in.
Of course it is his first season in the Premier League and he is only 23 – he’ll surely improve over time or else City have wasted £32m on a decidedly average player, but for now it would be wrong not to enjoy his calamitous performances while they last, that’s half the fun of football after all! It’s just a shame he’s unlikely to play against Arsenal now that Kompany is fit again.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Daily Cannon contributors’ predictions for the game coming soon.