It is difficult to emphasise how important this afternoon is, for the club and the fans.
For the players, it is just another game and should they lose this and all the games to season’s end, they will still be millionaires and be in demand throughout the world. There is the rub.
In my youth Man City were my second team, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Franny Lee etc were exciting to watch and won the title; the current MC team remind me of that fine team. Capable of wonderful flowing football but also able to grind out a result. And like that old team they have a colourful manager, though Malcolm Allison was more of a nutter than Guardiola!
Would you say that City are doing worse than us this season? I think so. They have spent hundreds of millions and brought in the most lauded manager in world football. Have they more chance of winning the title or the CL than us? Massive under-achievement for the investment.
Player for player I would say that we are not far apart. I wish we had bought De Bruyne but understand why we didn’t, given his absence this afternoon the player we have to marshal is the wonderful David Silva. I love the way this man plays. Close him out and we will win (make that Silva, Sterling and Aguero!)
Who would you prefer leading the line for Arsenal, Sanchez or Aguero? Both marvellously talented, hard workers. When I was young the idea that players of this standard would play in England was mind-boggling. Imagine Pele or Maradonna playing in the PL. Today we accept it as normal.
Arsenal: Where to start? We were just rubbish at WBA, yet are likely to start almost the same team. Hopefully Sanchez will play through the middle and change position with Welbeck. Our problems at set pieces are alarming but fairly easily solved (practice, concentration and application), and the defence will prefer the pace of MC’s attack.
Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
Ox Xhaka Coquelin
Walcott Sanchez Welbeck
Ramsey or Coquelin? Sorry Aaron, you have struggled this season and we need the security of Coquelin with the threat of Silva.
The fans? It is so important they back the side even if they struggle, it will be horrible to hear (or not) the Emirates return to the vitriol of recent times.
If we can score early I think we can win.
Can our boys halt the downward spiral of recent weeks? Let us hope so.