Let’s Sheikh up their title hopes
January 3, 2011 4 Comments
On Wednesday we have a very big game against title contenders Manchester City. Doesn’t that sound weird? Manchester City are in the title race this season, after spending heavily over the last few years to build up a squad of depth, skill and determination. There is a great mix of youth and experience with players such as ex-Gunners Kolo Toure, Vieira and Adebayor, along with plenty of youth in the shape of Adam Johnson, Joe Hart and Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli was recently won the Golden Boy trophy, which is an award organised by Turin newspaper Tuttosport. It means he was voted as the most talented player under 21 (by a group of European journalists), ahead of second placed Jack Wilshere. After winning the award, he claimed not to know who Wilshere was. After watching the Chelsea match, he is reported to have said Jack looks very promising and skillful. Seems this guy is full of class. Well, he definitely is classy on the field. He is fast, strong and has a magnificent shot. If he starts on Wednesday, Djourou better keep an eye on him.
City haven’t won at Arsenal in 27 away matches in all competitions. Their last win was in 1975.
City haven’t scored in their last three visits to the Emirates. They only have 5 goals in 13 away matches against Arsenal. However, Tevez has bagged 12 goals in 17 games this season. In all competitions, Tevez has 41 goals in only 61 games for City. Impressive.
City’s defence is strong. They have conceded only once in their last four away games. In addition, they have kept the most clean sheets in the league, with 10 in 21 games.
Half of the goals Arsenal have conceded have come from set pieces, the highest proportion in the EPL.
Arsenal have the best away record in the division, with 21 points, followed by City on 20 points.
I think Squillaci and Arshavin will be brought back into the side to provide experience for this key match. Although Squillaci has made many mistakes this season, Wenger is stubborn and will stick with his instincts. I believe this is the wrong choice – Koscielny and Djourou should start due to their fine record when they play together. In addition, I have been impressed with Theo in recent games, and I would prefer his inclusion ahead of our Russian star.
There is no doubting the difficulty of this match. City are in great form, with only one loss and five wins in the last six games. If we had beaten Wigan, our form would be the same. However, City have been much more solid defensively than Arsenal. This is a cause for concern. Arsenal’s attacking football is great, but the players find it difficult to break down teams who put many players behind the ball and play on the counter (look at the losses to Newcastle, Man Utd and Chelsea this season).
1-2 win for City. Arsenal are in good form, but have let the fans down many times in the past. I believe it will happen again on Wednesday. Wenger’s men often deceive both the fans and the media with brilliant performances, followed by a poor match which retracts from all the good work.
I hope my prediction is wrong! I’m sure Utd, Chelsea and even Spurs are hoping for a draw, but I think one of these teams will come out victorious. I just hope it isn’t City.