Manchester City dropped 14 points last season. They lost two matches and drew four. I knew they were amazing last year but I hadn’t really thought about that run. Arsenal’s Invincibles season they had 12 draws aka dropped 24 points. I’ve included a quick graphic of ManCity’s roster below. The text below the image links back to their
When you look over ManCity’s roster there are a few things that stick out immediately. First for me is the talent. They are stacked everywhere. They have multiple starting-caliber players everywhere. I’ll hear an argument for Fernandinho being older with no clear replacement. The tale of finding a replacement 6 is long and storied. The next thing that I see is the experience. They have bags of caps. Seven guys on the roster with over 100 appearances for the club. They have multiple scary goal threats. They only have a handful of guys who run out of contract at the end of the current season. Three that I see. One is a youth player so his deal will essentially just roll-over. One is Kompany and I’m sure they’ll let him play on one-year deals till he wants to retire or they will allow him to sign a big money deal elsewhere at the end of the season. The City Football Group owns several other clubs throughout the world so if they wanted to let Vincent go elsewhere they could or he could go to a deep-pocketed club for one last pay-check. The other on the final year is Mangala and he hasn’t really lived up to the hype or the transfer fee. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he walks. There is always hope he could find his game and renew. No one can pay him more than City so there is that too. The last thing that sticks out to me is the transfer fees. These are just the reported fees on freaking Wikipedia. Only nine people on this roster have come to the team for less than £10m, yeah you read that correctly £10m. One of those was
I played soccer when I was younger stopped in my middle school years and came back to it via a good friend in college. When I was getting back into soccer in 2002 my teams
Last year in the same fixture Arsenal lost 3-0 at home to City. When the City machine was humming. This year going into this fixture I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I wanted to see a draw. I assumed Arsenal would still be feeling out their balance under a new manager and City would be starting to prime the pump on defending their title. What I expected is essentially what happened.
I haven’t done a right and proper preview for Arsenal yet this year. I should just so I can get my thoughts out of my head and really focus on the roster. There is legit talent on this roster. There are holes, clearly and areas where reinforcements are needed. I was glad to see a few key pieces picked up over the summer and I’m also glad to see that Emery hasn’t done a wholesale changeover. This way Emery should be able to feel out of the squad completely and start making moves in the subsequent transfer windows. When I saw the lineups I was surprised and excited to see new faces. Left-back was going to be a worry with the current injury situation. The reports out over the weekend that Welbeck has been training at left-back turned out to be a smoke-screen that I’m guessing Pep didn’t bite on anyway.
The match wasn’t nearly and clean and crisp as one would hope for two teams vying for the top end of the table. City makes sense to me because its a long season and they don’t want to grind down guys that played deeper into the World Cup. Arsenal also made sense due to the number of new faces. As I’m not really focused on City here is where I stop breaking down their game closely. I’ll mention some things but mainly I’m focused on Arsenal herein.
The line-up deserves some ink. The back-line will be a question all year long. As Koz deals with injuries the center back pairings will have to be more creative. Koz is coming tough injury with the
Playing midfielders out of position is what we did do with Ainsley Maitland-Niles by sliding him over Welbeck into the left-back spot. I had assumed Lichtsteiner would take the left-back spot with Nacho and Sead out injured. That’s probably what will have to happen with Ainsley getting hurt during this match. The reports seem to be that its minor and he should be back soon. While I will agree that Ainsley has more to give in terms of top-end talent to reach
Sokratis got the nod in central defense. I think the more interesting aspect was that it was a back-four and not a back three. There are so many talented midfielders on this team that I had sort of assumed that we’d see a back three with Bellerin and Ainsley/Lichtsteiner at the wingbacks. Who would lineup in the back three? The two we had and then I’m not sure. Maybe Lichtsteiner would’ve been the sensible third in the back. Bellerin seems much more comfortable in a back-four. That doesn’t really make sense to me as I see him as a threat getting forward. Maybe I see a wingback as having more flexibility than they actually do. The initial lineup sans Ainsley made sense given the options.
The midfield and forward pairing I understood too. Aubameyang got the start. If the 3-5-2 had happened then
The attack is where I felt Arsenal were going to hang their hat this year.
Starting off the new era against ManCity and Chelsea sucks. I don’t think we’ll see the real formation till after those fixtures. After those two
I didn’t see a plan B once the plan A wasn’t working. The play off the bench in the attack seems to be to just add more of the same. Iwobi and Welbeck are both fast less proven version of Laca and
Going forward let’s hope we have a little different focus in the midfield. There are lots of potential attacking options but we need to find our 8 and we need to see if we have depth. If we don’t have depth we need to realign the midfield. If there isn’t faith in Ramsey and Xhaka the fall back is Elneny and youth. Youth got run on Sunday but it didn’t positively change the game.
The final thought goes to the keeper. I didn’t see the horrible errors that Twitter was spotting in Cech’s day. The odd clearance in front of the goal-mouth was questionable. Doesn’t really make sense to give Leno his first start on