Slow Out The Blocks
For such a side laden with pace, only Arsenal could come out the blocks so slow. Watching Arsenal thus far this season is something akin to watching a toddler making a transition from crawling to walking, and finally to running.
The optimism that encapsulated the Emirates before the season was palpable. Still drunk off of their FA Cup success, there was a strong belief that this was the season for Arsenal to reassert themselves back into the talks of winning the league. A belief that has not quite been portrayed on the pitch – yet. Arsenal have started their campaign with a cloak of lethargy around them. Their ceremonious purple patch that seems to find them around springtime has somehow found them in early autumn. Struggling to overturn a manager-less Crystal Palace, coupled with hard-earned draws at Everton and new boys, Leicester, has really sparked some dramatic murmurs. Not forgetting that Besiktas almost bestowed Turkish dismay onto them between those aforementioned fixtures.
Arsenal will need to find feet quickly, as last season’s champions are coming to town, hoping to further show Arsenal’s inefficiency against top 5 teams. This is the time to make a statement. An Arsenal win here, will not necessarily put the conspiracies and naysayers to bed, but it will certainly banish them to their rooms without dinner. However, on Saturday, this will be a different Man City side, as to the one that fielded the Wembley pitch for the Community Shield.
Welbeck vs. Sanogo: A Not So Predictable Battle
Arsenal’s £16m young English striker, Danny Welbeck is eligible for the match against Man City; a team that only he knows too well. Welbeck, who has cried out for chances leading the line, will feel almost vindicated that he managed to bag himself a brace midweek in England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland. All signs point to him leading the line for Saturday’s match, but with Wenger you just ever know.
Who should lead the line for Saturday? Both Yaya Sanogo and Olivier Giroud have struggled to find the net this season. Between a goal-shy, raw player in Sanogo, and marmite personified, Giroud who is out with a long-term injury, you would think that Welbeck would and should get the spot by default? That would and should be the case, but with Wenger persisting on playing Özil out on the flanks (albeit, for fitness reasons), again, you just never know.
Özil The Enigma
Mesut Özil, who has had his first season in the Premier League chopped, dismembered, and unlawfully analysed under the microscope has yet to silence his critics so far this season. Still buoyed by his adventurous summer in Brazil, his start of this season hasn’t been a “Özil Strikes Back!” movie yet. Although, this hasn’t been helped by being played out on the flanks of course. Whilst, everyone at Arsenal remains optimistic in him, he knows himself that he has to kick on, and repay that faith.
It all starts here for Özil. In fact, it all starts here for Arsenal. Their biggest game of the season starts Saturday at the ominous time of 12:45.
Probable Starting XI:
Aaron Ramsey’s innocuous injury midweek, although not too serious – with reports saying he has a possibility to feature on Saturday – has paved the way for Jack Wilshere to start alongside club captain, Mikel Arteta, who also makes his way back from injury. Kieran Gibbs also returns from his injury that forced him off at the opening game of the season, but Wenger will not want to stifle the good run that Nacho Monreal has had in the Englishmen’s “scripted” absence.
Bet 365 – Arsenal 15/8
Sky Bet – Arsenal 19/10
Betfred – Arsenal 15/8
William Hill – Arsenal 7/4
Coral – Arsenal 7/4
– Words by Yvens Tiamou (follow on Twitter) –