Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Has Arsenal Closed The Gap On Man City

#MCIARS match preview by @shardgooner

It feels like a long time has passed since we played our last game, and probably because a lot has happened in the meantime. Arsenal signed Thomas in a deadline day “Partey”. Arsene Wenger launched his book and has done a series of interviews. God’s child Saka made his international debut. Oh, and a host of players across Europe tested positive for the corona virus while filling their Federations’ coffers.

Even those who are seemingly free of the virus have been caught in the net as the Scots have put Tierney in Tesco Bag isolation. But on the other hand, our opponents ManCity are reported to be missing De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. However, Aguero may be back. If he plays, it would represent a challenge for our defenders. His movement is great and he has a nose for the goal. Even with some players missing, City’s squad remains formidable.

Tierney, Partey, Ozil

Arteta said he was hoping Tierney would be available, but really most eyes will be on whether the new signing will start. I have to say, personally, I am quite excited about Partey. He’s the midfielder I wanted us to get since rumours started last season, but didn’t think we could. Interestingly ,Arteta mentioned a better offensive output in relation to how Thomas will help us. That most likely implies a shift to a 4231 or 433. I think the Xhaka-Partey partnership will be great. Play them with either a 10 or an 8 and we will have a good mix of defensive stability, long passing and creativity.

Mesut Ozil was left out of the Europa League squad and I don’t care what anyone says, this is clearly not just about the football. Wenger had some words of wisdom on Ozil, and on Arsenal values in general, and Arteta mentioned the values he would like to bring to the club too. I doubt something changes at this point, but if Wenger says Ozil can fight to change the way things are, then who am I to argue?

4th vs 14th in the league table

The PL table makes for very strange reading at this point of time. We are 4th while ManCity are 14th with just 4 points from their 3 games. Meanwhile Everton sit at the top of the table. They have played some good football and early though it is, they are there on merit.

Side note: Back when I was picking which team to support, I very nearly went for Everton. I’m glad I didn’t, but it is one of the few clubs that hasn’t given me much reason, Duncan Ferguson aside, to dislike them. I know they had Wayne Rooney, but they also gave us Arteta. Hope they whip Liverpool on Saturday.

It may not have been the league, but recently, we’ve managed to beat ManCity when it really counted. Hopefully those results combined with our good start to the season will give us the confidence to play like we believe we can win. While their squad is top class, I believe the gap has narrowed a little. Pep and ManCity will be very determined to display their superiority, but we have the quality to live with them, and we’re growing rapidly as a team. My prediction of a top 4 finish this year and to go for the title next, invites a lot less ridicule currently. But Arsenal need to keep it going. Hopefully new signings, new formations, and maybe some new common ground can help us play not only winning football, but a winning style of football.

The latter might be too much to ask for against our next opponents, but sometime soon, we should expect that the gang will all get together, the passes and goals will flow, and the Partey will be well and truly on.

Written by Shard aka @shardgooner


  1. Hey Shard. After today’s showing, Arteta may have closed the defensive gap but our attacking play is still miles behind City’s. We have a wealth of well paid, big named players but we play like a little team. It is embarrassing. to watch.

  2. Rosicky@ArsenalOctober 18, 2020 at 6:00 am

    As expected we lost to city at their home ground. The game was not attractive from both ends .As surprisingly Pep also not going full throttle. Probably in the absence of KDB Pep was not confident and the FA cup loss was still afresh in his mind.

    Being Arsenal fan these days is not a great idea as we are evolving with Arteta style of play obviously not to my liking along with a large number of grooners obsessed with Wengerball.
    So watching Arsenal matches not exciting enough these days.
    Maybe watching Bielsa,s Leeds is more entertaining imo.

    I don’t think with the inclusion of Partey we will be seeing a fluent style of play as it seems now with Arteta we have said bye bye to Wengerball. We may finish the season better than last year but finishing top4 seems uphill at the moment imo.

    But Hey guys why finish top4 we were told by the idiot fans that we will win the league once Arsenal get rid of Wenger.
    Could those idiot fans come up and say sorry to us.

    • Ros: You are right, Wenger-ball is dead. In its place is Arteta-ball and it is not pretty to watch. We may be better defensively but lack creativity going forward. Most fans are in denial, including many who support this blog; still under the illusion that Arteta will eventually restore a creative free flowing brand football at the club, just as we saw when he was an assistant at City. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The key data point is how Arteta has overseen the ostracism and formal elimination of Ozil, our most creative player, from the squad. Instead of being the heir to Wenger’s legacy, Arteta is betraying it.

      Again, I say most fans are denial, just as defined by Kubler-Ross in their seminal work on the 5-stages of grief. How soon before will we begin a wave of anger throughout the fanbase. I already see the signs.


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