Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Arsenal line up to dent City's title hopes

 By Danong and 1970s Gooner

The Gunners will be hoping for a big win this weekend as they travel north to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The psychological boost a win will give us will make the rest of the games remaining look a much easier task than many pundits have been predicting. 

In order to win, Mikel Arteta will obviously aim to get his strongest lineup fit and ready. However, there's a concern that he may miss some of his players due to injury.

Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey have returned from injuries but having played only about half a training game against a QPR team during the international break will not imo render their participation from the start a viable option. Jurrien Timber, on the other hand has to wait a bit longer. The Dutch defender is still not match-fit to be considered for a berth in Arsenal's matchday squad.

We all hope of course that Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Magalhaes will pass fitness tests for the Etihad trip although Arteta never gives anything away during his pressers and if he does you cannot really trust that he is giving you the whole truth. It will not be a surprise if one of these players is missing from the starting lineup.

Martinelli has been recovering from a cut on his foot he sustained during Arsenal's 6-0 victory over Sheffield Utd in early March.

Saka has been battling with muscle tightness while Gabriel has an irritated achilles tendon—the two did not play for their national teams this international break.

So, with that said, what is the strongest line up Arteta can field on Sunday?



Obviously, David Raya will start in goal. He has demonstrated his usefulness in goal, as his shot-stopping and ball distribution have been crucial to Arteta's game plan.

In defense, Ben White starts and we hope he continues to play the inverted role. William Saliba and Gabriel should continue to shine at central defense and Jakub Kiwior should continue to play as a more orthodox left back. Kiwior has given Arsenal's left wing new life with his current form and benching him would be scandalous imo.


Obviously, Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice will start in midfield. Alongside them Jorginho should start. The Italian international has excelled in key games, including a 4-1 win over Newcastle and a 3-1 win over Liverpool. The ex-Blue has started the last four games for Arsenal, instilling serenity in the engine room and helping to break down teams with his impressive passes.

But his inclusion will provide two additional benefits. Firstly releasing Rice to move a bit further up and play the number 8 and we have seen how effective he can be from that position. But secondly he can drop back to form a double pivot with Jorginho when we are without the ball.

Alternatively Arteta can decide to keep Rice as a number 6 shielding the defence and play Jorginho further up instead which is what he may decide to do, at least in the first half to keep things tight.


Leandro Trossard, Kai Havertz, and Bukayo Saka should start. Havertz has found his form in front of goal, scoring four in the last six games; he might shine leading the attack but he would also drop back into midfield as a false 9 thus providing a stronger presence in the engine room which will be really needed—Gabriel Jesus could replace him later on. Even if Martinelli is fit for this game, Trossard should start on the left wing (Martinelli could be a super sub as he proved to be in our victory over City in our home game).

The Line up


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior

Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard

Saka, Havertz, Trossard

This is the best team that can put a dent in Manchester City's title charge and progress towards winning the title for the first time in 20 years!

Is there anything you would change about that lineup?

Friday, March 29, 2024

How can Arsenal depart Manchester with all three points

By Danong

Last season, in April, Manchester City defeated Arsenal 4-1.That setback, coming after draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton, undoubtedly sealed Arsenal's fate extinguishing any hope of winning the title. They ended up losing the league to the Cityzens by 5 points.

Fast forward to another Premier League title race with 10 games remaining. Arsenal face Manchester City this Sunday in what Pep Guardiola calls the 'final'. This game has huge implications for the title race; Arsenal, at the top of the league (with 64 points), can open up a 4-point gap between them and City with a win; City, who are a point behind them but third in the league can open up a 2-point gap between them and Arsenal if they win this game.

That being said, how can the Gunners ensure they depart Manchester with all three points?

Carry on defending well

Arsenal's defence has laid the groundwork for the Gunners' success; the club has conceded the fewest goals in the league (24), enjoys the lowest xGA by far (5.11 better than anyone else) and has allowed 19 fewer shots on target than the next best who is City.

James McNicholas on the Handbrakes Off Podcast calls for Arsenal's defence to be at their best on Sunday, with the hope that Gabriel Magalhaes, who was injured over the winter break, will be fit. According to the pundit, if Arsenal can avoid conceding early, they may still have a chance to win the game, even if it is in the final minutes.

“When we’ve had disappointing trips to Etihad in the past, it’s because we’ve been blown away early. I think that’s what we desperately, desperately have to avoid…I think we’ve got to stay in it; we’ve got to live the game... getting into those final twenty minutes and then it can go either way’.

So, assuming Arsenal can avoid conceding early, what else can they do to win?

Scoring early:

Their strong league form following the winter break, with 33 goals in 8 games, can be summarised by their ability to score early. Only in the 2-1 win over Forest in this dominant run since the winter break did the Gunners fail to strike early. The objective against City should be to score early and establish control of the game.

Pep Guardiola recently claimed Arsenal are more dangerous in the title chase because they 'finish the job' early; we need to see that on Sunday.

“Liverpool need more than 90 minutes to win the game, sometimes more; Arsenal sometimes need just 25 minutes to win the games. That’s why they are there,” said Guardiola via Football London a while back.

That said, do you believe Arsenal will leave the Etihad with three points if they do not concede in the first stages of the game and instead score early themselves?

If this happens Arsenal will surely sail on to win the league by a canter.