I’ve been reading articles on how good the Man City team is performing and how good their squad is. A certain website [Talkshite] even went to the extent of comparing their squad with our invincibles. Ridiculous I must say !
Although the truth is that Man City really are performing at the top level and as they say, they really are the team to beat this season. So can the Gunners overcome this heavily loaded Man City team? Both in the Carling Cup and the League? Well honestly no one can predict what will happen in a game or what cannot, but I have analysed the 3 games were City dropped points…against Fulham in the League and against Napoli and Bayern in the Champions League. Here are my few observations and suggestions :-
# Man City score their majority of goals via counter attacks.They have tremendous amount of pace along the flanks and down the middle in the form of Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Milner. Even Yaya Toure makes those strong surging runs beating a few players along his way.
However they stuggle to even make a few passes if they are closed down quickly. The likes of Silva and Aguero can bring out the ball from tightest of situations, but they do struggle to find passes when their pace is blocked and they are given no space to exploit. We should defend as a team, with every player covering spaces and blocking their counter runs…for this purpose, the likes of Song and our full backs will need to hold their positions and not surge forward at every opportunity.
# Man City themselves struggle when teams move the ball around quickly. They deploy Barry/ De Jong and Toure to hold their play…they usually sit back and distribute the ball, with Toure making late runs into the box. In the match against Bayern Munich, though they played well, there were instances when Bayern were running riots at their defence with their quick passing and pace. The likes of Ribery, Mueller and Schweinsteiger passed the ball so quickly that the City full backs were often caught in one-v-one situations. Their timing of runs into the box was also brilliant which caused the City defenders a great deal of problems.
# Counter for Counter should be the key in my opinion. Whenever City load our half and are passing it around, we should always have the two attacking players on the wing to exploit the space left by their full backs which I reckon is huge coz Richards and Clichy get forward at every opportunity. Although they are quick to recover, they are quite poor in one-v-one situations. Who better than Gervinho and Walcott in such situations? They can just keep dragging them back so that they do not attack much.
# David Silva has been in sensational form this season. However from what I’ve seen in these matches is that he does switch off a bit when they are under pressure.If we can stop the supply to him, half the game is won i think…coz City play really average when he aint delivering, and this was clearly visible against Fulham.
# If you ask me 2 players who havent been that good for City, I would say Lescott and Barry. Although they do their work decent enough but they struggle against quick movement, and Lescott especially can be targetted by our attacking players.
# Joe Hart is a brilliant keeper hands down…but this season he has struggled against some balls into the box which he flapped and some long range efforts which he misjudged. We should get max efforts on target to keep him under pressure and I am sure he will crumble. Come on he aint Iker Casillas…oh wait,even he crumbles under pressure !
# We should have the lion’s share of possession which should be utilized in their half. The likes of Arteta and Song will have to retain the ball better and we shouldn’t give away balls cheaply with silly or misplaced passes.
# Try and avoid conceding set pieces. This is one thing which cannot be controlled as such, but if the players are instructed not to make silly tackles at the edge of the box, we can certainly contain their set piece abilties.
# Strong home support is necessary. I know we have a really great set of fans at the Emirates, but we need to create that intimidating atmosphere which we had against Barcelona last term and oh boy didn’t they lose!
# City have a set of really hot headed individuals who get charged up for a small reason…the likes of Richards, Balotteli, Nasri etc who lose their cool when they are fouled or when they get booked. I think we should approach this game in a rough manner, by which I don’t mean a Stoke approach…but a more physical battle and also drawing them into fouls. This can really frustrate their players and they may lose possession quickly.
# Their half should be loaded when we attack, they don’t particularly deal well with players loaded into their box. Chamakh should be used as a Plan B. Though we should always be wary of a counter hence our full backs should stay alert near the half way line.
These are just some of the things I observed and made some suggestions…some may agree some may not. I am no one to point out such things to Wenger……but from a fan’s pont of view I see no reason why we cant beat Man City !
TAKE CARE GOONERS !!!