Up For The Cup? Man City Quarter Final Preview

Ready for the Reindeer Cup?

In a very seasonal fixture we entertain Manchester City tonight in the quarter final of the Caribou Cup.

Caribou, as you all know, are also called “reindeer” and tend to be kept busy at this time of year pulling Santa’s sleigh.

It would be nice to think we could win and get closer to winning a trophy in this so-far abysmal season. If we manage to beat City we would play the semi final on January 5th, meaning (if we win again) that we could have a Wembley appearance booked by the first week of the new year.

I know it’s only the Reindeer Cup, but that would lift spirits a little bit, wouldn’t it?

Even so, tonight’s game is surely an occasion for El Patron to play several of the younger and more fringe players. After all, our Premier League form is the real crisis area right now and we face Chelsea on Boxing Day.

Given the wealth of talent available to the pale blue Mancs, even a second string side from them will be packed with ability, so this will be a difficult fixture for whichever group of Arsenal lads we send out.

It also makes me think Arteta will opt for a back three/five to give us more defensive security in the hope we can do again to City what we did to them in the FA Cup last season (soak up pressure with the ‘low block’ and catch them on the break).

Here’s my (highly unlikely to be accurate) predicted line-up, bearing in mind that Xhaka is suspended and Partey and Auba are both unavailable through injury:


Soares – Chambers – Mustafi – Mari – Kolasinac

Maitland-Niles – Elneny

Nelson – Balogun – Smith-Rowe

For all our league woes, we have continued to shine in the cup competitions, so I wouldn’t rule out us winning this one, whoever starts.

Come On You Gunners.



72 Responses to Up For The Cup? Man City Quarter Final Preview

  1. LB says:

    I am really looking forward to tonight’s game, we are not expected to win, which I am worryingly starting to get used to, but tonight forces Arteta to play a team that he thinks could win without the worry of losing.

    The translation of that is he is obviously under pressure in the EPL and is more often than not taking what he thinks is the safe route by playing the more experienced players over those who look more likely to excite.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Play the kids. What’s the worst that can happen? Lose, we’re expecting that anyway. Drop the mutineers!

    I was at Highbury went United spanked us 6-2 in 1990. That season we won the league for the 2nd time in George’s reign. From what I remember of the game everything United did went right. They were very lucky. Lee Sharpe got a hattrick. Remember him?

    United got beaten by Sheffield Wednesday in the final. They sit at the bottom of the Championship now. Back then City were awful. It’s amazing what a billion pounds of oil money does to a club…

  3. Gööner In Exile says:

    It’s a tricky one isn’t it.

    Stick the senior team out in the unimportant cup game do they get a message that maybe their place in the side against Chelsea is in danger, or do they even care about that.

    Put youth out and suffer a pasting and their confidence is shot.

    I fully expect us to play on counter this evening, and in that way maybe tonight suits us more than other recent games where we have had to take the game to them.

    But I have to admit that sentence sticks in the throat/thumb. We have become a team that can no longer take the game to the opposition if they load the defensive areas.

    So if we are going to try the counter attacking game that worked well against them last season then it is players who can offer an end product in clutch situations.

    I expect Pep will be expecting that from us so if I was Mikel I’d put the youth out and tell them to mount up and charge. Just get about City everywhere on the pitch and play for your mates. Try everything instinctive and bugger the consequences.

  4. RA says:

    A very nice Post, Rocky, which looks at what the Arsenal might achieve; what the team might look like tonight; and a brave attempt to lift our spirits.

    A very Rocky article indeed {No pun intended}. 😁

    We could win tonight and even in the next round — why not?

    Apparently the CareForYou Cup Final has been delayed until the end of April, which is good, that will give us plenty of time to forget about it, if we fail to win.

  5. RA says:

    Hi GIE,

    What did you mean by a sentence referring to our need to go on the counter attack as “sticking in the craw?”

    That has to be a good way to win — well – depending on what team is put out, and Mikel has a habit of putting out the same old, same old.

    That has cheered me up, sir. 😜

  6. RockyLives says:

    Soares – Mustafi – Gabrielle – Kolasinac
    Ceballos – Elneny- Willock
    AMN – Laca – Martinelli

  7. RockyLives says:

    How are that lot going to line up then?

    Back 3/5 with Soares and AMN as the attacking wing backs?

  8. LB says:

    Looks like 442 to me.


    Soares, Mustafi, Gabrielle, Kolasinac

    Ceballos, Elneny, Willock, AMN

    ———Laca, Martinelli

    I like the team…………….

  9. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky. I’m disappointed to see so many second rate first team players in the side, I’d rather we played top quality youngsters. I see Auba has been praising my man Azeez … I really want to see more of him. Tonight would have been the perfect opportunity.

  10. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky. Great post. I think whatever happens tonight our season priorities are to start a run of EPL form and build momentum and go all out to win the EL, which we have the players to do.

  11. GoonerB says:

    I reiterate my 8.02

  12. LB says:

    Mustafi is still taking the knee…………….

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    That was a fun 3 minutes. Well done City. Maybe next year….!? 😂

  14. RockyLives says:

    Relax. It’s all part of the plan. We’ve lulled City into thinking it’s going to be easy…

  15. Rasp says:

    Mustafi being one of the so called first team players who isn’t up to the required standard

  16. Rasp says:

    😂 excellent Rocky …. the funny thing is that you could be right

  17. RockyLives says:

    Equalise in 87th.

    Win on pens.

  18. Rasp says:

    Elneny is another so caked experienced player who doesn’t deserve his place in the team on recent displays

  19. Rasp says:

    Once again one of our ‘seasoned professionals’ is trying to get himself sent off … well done Mustafi. It’s embarrassing that both Mustafi and Elneny protested their cards when the replays showed them as entirely justified. What the hell is going on in their heads. I’m beginning to wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes. Has the Guendouzi situation caused rebellion?

  20. Rasp says:

    Thank goodness for Martinelli

  21. LB says:

    Woo, wooo, something funny has happened, the round thing went between some white sticks.

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    Can’t we just move Martinelli onto a 10 year deal on Özil money please!? That kid is going to be so special.

  23. RockyLives says:

    I thought I was hallucinating LB 😀

  24. GoonerB says:

    We have generally sat far too deep so far. Tricky with City because they can exploit space behind but inviting them onto you can be just as dangerous

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    Martinelli the saviour, look at the energy, embarrassing several senior players around him this season, seems to be bringing others to life too.

    RA did I actually use the phrase craw? I only ask as I was considering it and went for throat/thumb instead as I wasn’t sure on the spelling, but now you have me thinking I’ve repeated myself on the previous post 🙂

    Why does it stick so, because it smells of a Mourinho tactic, or even worse a Pulis.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Martinelli = technique and desire.

    Not many in our squad have both.

  27. fatgingergooner says:


    By ‘round thing’ I assume you mean Kolasinac’s stomach?

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    Looking at us defensively seems to be 4-5-1 now?

  29. GoonerB says:

    Haha. Just remembered I paused the game for 5 mins to deal with something a d am behind you guys. Is it too much to ask that you hold all your thoughts for 5 mins before commenting. Will catch up at half time

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    If that wasn’t the keeper would that be seen as a reckless challenge?

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Where does force come into!? If that’s a midfield challenge it’s a straight red.

  32. LB says:

    Phew, that was worrying.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Out of control, force, high boot, count them up. Oh its okay he made the ball first. F***ing ridiculous

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s one of those situations that no amount of VAR can resolve. If the keeper doesn’t come at it full speed then Martinelli is scoring…so what is he supposed to do? Similar when you see a defender make a last gasp lunge at the ball with his foot to take the ball off an attackers head who’s about to score. Is he supposed to just let him head it in so as not to risk raising his boot?

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know if that was anyone other than the Gk then it’s getting looked at.

  35. LB says:

    That was some save by our keeper.

  36. Aaron says:

    Still do not like the line up.
    El Neny and Kola should have been changed up.

    Great pass by the “kid” and a very good header by Laca.

    Typical $h*tTy, get away with fouls, first ones for us turn yellow, and how was that challenge on Martinelli unchecked??

    Least AFC are in it!

  37. fatgingergooner says:


    As an ex GK, that first goal surely has to be Mustafi fault doesn’t it!? A ball that is so flat from the byline at the near post. Surely that is the GK fault!? I don’t see what the GK can do, whereas if Mustafi is a yard closer to his goal he heads that away.

    What you reckon?

  38. RockyLives says:

    Great save by Runarsson LB.

    I feel the lad needed that – he was (partly) at fault for the City goal and generally for his progress at Arsenal he needs some big ‘moments’.

    That save – depending on what happens in the second half – could prove to be a ‘moment’.

  39. Fatgingergooner says:


    Nobody likes the lineup! 😂 We are shite! 😂

    Doing ok though tbf. I like the way Willock runs in behind and works the channels. I think someone like ESR would really shine in the spaces he leaves. I’d like to see AMN getting further forward and Ceballos doing more with the ball.

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    Hate to say it FGG there was something of the Manninger about that goal, got caught in two minds, and ended up making the wrong decision.

  41. Gööner In Exile says:

    He stays on the line and it puts the blame on defenders, by coming off like that he has almost given them someone to blame.

  42. LB says:

    That will learn me……………..

  43. Gööner In Exile says:

    Oh god I hate being right, more Manningerisms

  44. RockyLives says:

    Well, I said Runarsson needed some moments. 🙄

  45. fatgingergooner says:


    Surely that Mahrez free kick isn’t the GK fault…..🙄😂


  46. Rasp says:

    Gotta feel sorry for Runarsson there … but we have it in us to equalise again … Shame we didn’t bring Balogun on for Martinelli

  47. LB says:

    Back to what we have become familiar with.

  48. Aaron says:

    For real, when I saw this guy being signed Knew it was a poor buy in a run of poor purchases, and we let Emi go.

    Many many could have been sold before Emi, so please do not go that way…

  49. LB says:

    Emi wanted first team football and Leno wasn’t going to be happy as back up.

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    I have to say I feel really sorry for young keepers, or part time keepers, absolutely zero game in the Reserves or Youth Team a few odd games here and there.

    Theres a reason clubs go for the older experienced keeper on the bench, they are a tad more reliable and have more experience to fall back on.

    That third goal is a rush of blood to try and make up for the second, stay on your line and make it difficult for Foden.

  51. Rasp says:

    And now an offside goal … we have been so unlucky lately

  52. Rasp says:

    We may as well bring Balogun on for Ceballos now

  53. Aaron says:

    LB, yes, but Leno can ride the pine like he does for the German team:-)

  54. LB says:

    Seems like Mustafi is still taking the knee.

  55. Aaron says:

    That last picture of $h*tTy runners going past Mustafi and Kola was priceless…

    Should never see game day for us again-ever!

  56. LB says:

    We have lost this so it makes sense to give Balogun some minutes.

  57. RockyLives says:

    City have really been lulled into thinking this will be easy now.

  58. Aaron says:

    Kola missed two runs by Balo and ESR, just illustrates how slow that guy plays, takes him 1 minute for a throw in to the other team!

  59. RC78 says:

    ESR is playing well these days. Why not start him?

  60. RockyLives says:

    Well, the good news is that Arteta probably has some stats that prove we should have won.

  61. RockyLives says:

    At least now we can concentrate on our title challenge.

  62. Rasp says:

    Pluses … Martinelli, ESR
    Minuses … every player over the age of 24

  63. Aaron says:

    fgg, we are, but liked the kids, play Azeez too.
    Oh, and another under 23 goalkeeper please.

  64. RockyLives says:

    Feel sorry for Runarsson.

  65. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t see anything other than poor players and bad transfer decisions in that game. It’s easy to want Arteta out, but whoever comes in is still stuck with this pile of shite and will no doubt want another 6 months to ‘assess the squad’. I’d much rather we continue with the pain for now than start all over again.

    I do think that the first team with Partey and Martinelli is a different animal to what we have seen the last few months, so I can only pray that Martinelli is ok.

    As for comparisons with City. That’s what happens when your ‘second XI’ is built of players who are bought as first team challengers, as opposed to players who are bought to fill gaps in an already average squad.

  66. Gööner In Exile says:

    FGG I’d go one further, that City squad tonight was a mixture of former first team regulars and up and coming players. Half off their starting XI tonight were brought in as starters and have been usurped. They want their shirts back.

  67. LB says:

    Not too difficult to do when money is no object.

  68. fatgingergooner says:

    One thing I will say for Arteta is that every game he’s managed has been an improvement in terms of effort from that game away at Palace where Walcott came out and said the players weren’t at it before kick off.

    I don’t see players giving in. Just a massive lack of quality stemming from a huge lack of confidence. We desperately need 3 points. Isn’t it about time someone got sent off against us and gave us a couple of pens!!!

  69. RockyLives says:

    I was at that Palace game.

    That truly was a low point.

  70. 1979Gunner says:

    What the story with Walcott and the Palace game?

  71. 1979Gunner says:

    Got it.

  72. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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