Manchester City Preview: A Marker for the Season Ahead
This was certainly not the summer that Arsenal fans had anticipated.
It began with doubts over the futures of club captain, Thomas Vermaelen, and a Bacary Sagna that was linked heavily with moves to France but they pledged their allegiance to the Gunners which was received graciously by the fans. Then there was the curious case of the deadwoods and Arsenal took a very, I repeat, very ruthless approach on them, flushing them out like shit in a toilet.
With Arsenal clearly having some loopholes in several position that needed to be addressed the media vultures did their own bit to link Arsenal with various players in different positions.
Queens Park Rangers goalie, Julio Cesar, had a great Confederations Cup tournament but Arsene Wenger folded his arms as the Brazilian moved to Fiorentina which clearly shows that he’s placing his fate in his Polish lot. Swansea’s Ashley Williams was linked all summer but Wenger mitigated the need for any potential defensive signing when he deployed Sagna as a make-shift center back in preseason and to be fair, the Bac Man has done a sturdy job there.
In midfield, the Gunners made a bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender that was rejected and there was a period when there was so much buzz surrounding Marouane Fellaini’s release clause but the Arsenal hierarchy has taken the silent approach, which ultimately means that Arsene Wenger wants to build on the Aaron Ramsey – Mikel Arteta double pivote partnership that worked wonders in the tail end of last season.
In attack, Arsenal has been on the spotlight in their pursuit of Liverpool’s star forward, Luis Suarez, but the Gunners had previously missed out on two targets, Stevan Jovetic that joined today’s opponents, Manchester City, and Gonzalo Higuain that joined SSC Napoli. All Arsenal’s eggs are in a Suarez basket and if they miss out on him, the fans will be utterly disappointed to say the least.
With Arsenal just a week away from playing their Premier League curtain raiser against Aston Villa, there are no signings to look forward to and the Champions League draws are out as well with the Gunners gearing up to play Fenerbahce. This game will definitely serve as a marker for the season ahead as the debacle at the Emirates Cup showed that there’s so much work to be done.
To team news, Arsene Wenger has hinted that he intends to field a strong side for today’s game.
I’d expect Wojciech Szczesny to continue in goal after conceding two goals to the scourge of Arsenal, Didier Drogba. With Laurent Koscielny missing out on the defeat against Galatasaray, he would partner Per Mertesacker in defense while the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna would play at the fullback positions.
In midfield, I’d expect Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey to play behind Jack Wilshere, as the manager has stated that Tomas Rosicky might not be available for today’s game. Finally in attack, I’d expect Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott to provide support to Olivier Giroud.
This was the team that went on that amazing run of eight wins and two draws in the last 10 Premier League games of the season but their cause wasn’t helped when Giroud earned a three-match ban from his red card against Fulham.
With Arsenal’s XI more or less sorted out, we have to hope that the second tier squad from the bench do well when they are summoned. With no imminent signings any time soon, we have to make do with what we have, and we have a friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki.
Let’s hope for a good game of football.
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