A fantastic match that could decide the Premier League! Arsenal host Manchester City and we have a perfect preparation for you.
We talked with Nathan Reynolds from SB Nation’s Short Fuse with a primer on Arsenal fans thoughts after bad results, injuries and the City charges.
Let’s dive right in!
1) With Arsenal suffering a bit recently results-wise, where is the team and fanbase’s confidence going into this one midweek vs City?
A: I would say there is a range. On the one hand, Arsenal is still top of the Premier League and the defense has played really well. Creating enough quality changes and goal-scoring has been an issue in the last three matches, but that particular issue (a low-sitting defense) isn’t going to be the challenge that Manchester City presents. Over the last three years, Arsenal has finished 8th, 8th, and 5th in the final league table. They’ve completely overhauled their squad and focused on young talent that works well with Mikel Arteta’s plan. It’s easy to focus too narrowly and lose confidence, but zooming out this is a good squad and it’s been a great year. There will be ups and downs in form throughout the rest of this season and right now Arsenal is just having to ride out a dip. They will be excited to welcome City into the Emirates and I expect a much more open match.
2) How has the Gabriel Jesus injury impacted the club? Do recent results play a hand in impact?
A: Anytime a club loses their top forward it’s going to be a big impact. Eddie Nketiah had gotten the nod to be the #2 this year, but he came in very well for Jesus following the World Cup break. It’s very telling that Arsenal didn’t emergency purchase another forward or recall Folarin Balogun from his Ligue 1 loan (16 goals in 24 matches). Four other players have more goals than Jesus at this point, but like he was at Manchester City, Jesus brings a lot more to a side than just goal-scoring. There are no other forwards in the senior squad so it limits what Mikel Arteta can do in regard to substitutes. However, the biggest impact has been the attack as a whole learning to adapt to teams sitting very deep and focusing on the low block and then a quick counter (Newcastle, Everton & Brentford).
3) How have Arsenal fans received the City charges news given the title race currently ongoing?
A: Again, I think there is a wide spectrum on this topic. On one side you have a lot of Premier League fans (some Arsenal ones included) who have the mindset of ‘City clearly cheated and are finally going to pay. Deduct sizeable points or drop them from the league.’ Then on the other end, I’ve seen plenty of Manchester City supporters who seem entrenched at ‘Other clubs are jealous, the league is reaching, there isn’t anything here and doesn’t need to be looked into.’ From my perspective, 100 allegations is a big number, but I want to see a clear analysis, quick results, and a known list of penalties if/when other clubs commit any of these alleged breaches in the future. I don’t want Arsenal to win the title just based on a points deduction or a bad referee decision, but on the pitch. If Manchester City have done nothing wrong and the Premier League wants to easily resolve this, hopefully, City opens up their books, provides the evidence publically and the matter can be quickly resolved (as quickly as anything this cumbersome can be). I know if this happened to Arsenal, I would want them to clearly line-by-line answer each allegation, provide the evidence, and post it on the club’s website for all to see and analyze.
Thank you to Nathan and the Short Fuse.