After qualifying for the Europa League round of 32 you’d think we’d be allowed a rest but not quite. Our next Thursday/Sunday round sees us complete the week with possibly the hardest test we could ask for, Manchester City away.
Playing against a team who’ve won nine of their first 10 Premier League games this season while scoring 35 goals, Sunday’s game should look like a tough ask, but we could be in with a chance.
Yes, Guardiola’s side have been in flying form in front of goal, however, our record against them isn’t the worst.
In our last five meetings we’ve won twice, lost twice and drawn once (one of those wins came at Wembley in last season’s FA Cup semi-final).
We’ve also managed to put in respectable performances at the Etihad recently, most notably in our 2-0 win in 2014/15 but will we change our style of play like we did that day? Arsene Wenger has said:
“I wouldn’t like to come out on [our approach] but of course we will try to play our game. We will not hide,”
“When we go there, we want to defend well but you cannot go there and only be focused on just defending. We want as well to play, have the ball and create dangerous situations. The best way to defend sometimes is to attack.”
Looking to still threaten the City defence it’s likely that the AOL trio will start for the third time this weekend, but hopefully they have the same effect as they did when they linked up for the first time against Everton, which was also after a Europa League encounter.
As exciting as our front three looks ahead of the game though it’s nothing compared to City’s attacking force.
With Sergio Aguero becoming the club’s record goal scorer, Raheem Sterling reaching double figures for the season and being accompanied by a seemingly unstoppable Kevin de Bruyne their confidence looks to be sky high, but Wenger has gotten the best out of a confident Guardiola side before.
Being the only manager to beat Pep at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, Wenger mustn’t be underestimated when going up against the highly praised manager so there could be a chance that the Frenchman will get another one over Guardiola.
Also, of late we’ve seen Arsenal come back from behind to win on three occasions, including our encounter with Sunday’s opposition in last year’s FA Cup semi-final so don’t be surprised if we go behind before being sparked into a reaction come Sunday lunchtime, but hopefully a reaction isn’t needed and we can hit the ground running from the start.