the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
JokAFC avatar


Man City v Arsenal - Cup Mission Implausible?

On paper, this match looks a little one-sided.It’s a good thing matches aren’t played on paper then.Manchester City are winning the Premier League at a canter, decimating the majority of their opponents with a potent blend of attacking verve, guile and a liberal sprinkling of goals.Pep Guardiola has finally assembled a side that is singing from the same hymn sheet and the result is a side still in with a shout of the treble.In the other corner, is our team.We took a battering from Swedish side Ostersunds and slinked into the Last16 of the Europa League. We were defeated in the North London Derby recently and our Premier League campaign hasn’t fired on all cylinders at all this season.Then there is our defence and lack of motivation.Our backline hasn’t looked settled since November when we strung together five clean sheets on the bounce and Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny formed a decent barrier of resistance. Now, we look run ragged every game and haven’t had a clean sheet in the Premiership since 16 December against Newcastle.Our motivation may not be up for question on the eve of a cup final, but our recent behaviour means it should be put up for scrutiny.Our first half displays contrast so much to our second halves that it appears as though our players are reminded of their vocation and their wage and come out as a different side. Why can’t we maintain our press? Why can’t we remain on the front foot? There are questions that must be raised at both the players,the coaching staff and Wenger.In terms of the final, we should have some players returning. Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will all return to the side, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan is cup-tied and will miss out. Alexandre Lacazette is still injured and will also be out of action, but Petr Cech will be back in goal, but there are some choices to make. Does Jack Wilshere remain in the side with Mkhitaryan missing out? Or does Wenger opt for Ozil in the hole and Welbeck/Iwobi on either flank? It would seem to make sense to have Wilshere in the No10 spot, with Ozil and Iwobi on either flank, but all will be revealed on Sunday.City have Gabriel Jesus returning, but with Sergio Aguero on fire, it is unlikely the Brazilian will start. It just means they have a strong option on the bench. Raheem Sterling could miss out with a muscle strain, and Fabian Delph is suspended. A ray of hope for us is their defence and goalkeeper.Nicolas Otamendi has been solid this season, and John Stones has been decent enough, but they can be gotten at. With Aymeric Laporte still not settled in the side, Aubameyang, if he receives the right amount of service, can really take the fight to them.Then there is Claudio Bravo. First choice Ederson has been a revelation so far in his first season, but Bravo has always looked a little unsettled. The keeper bought from Barca is a great keeper in his own right, but his own brand doesn’t seem to be a good match for the frenetic pace of the PL.So there can be optimism. Plus, we have a great record at Wembley. It may not translate to the League Cup Final - we’ve lost five of our seven finals in this competition - but it’s high time Wenger won it.We’ve only one won of our last five against City, and we’re up against it, but this could just be one of those games where we turn up for once. Let’s face it - we’re overdue a good performance!Predicted lineup - Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere, Iwobi, AubameyangPredicted Scoreline - 3-2 to The Arsenal. #UTA