Arsenal has already faced Manchester City this season, but this time it’s going to be different. This time Mikel Arteta is here, among other things.
It’s always hard to face a club when you look at the reverse fixture and cringe. Arguably Arsenal‘s worst match of the season came just ten days before Christmas, when Freddie Ljungberg managed his side against Pep’s (and still Arteta’s) Manchester City.
The result wasn’t just a loss, it was completely emasculating. Kevin De Bruyne scored in the first minute and for the next 89 minutes, the Gunners never once looked like turning it around. That wasn’t helped out by another goal from City a quarter of an hour later and a third before half.
This was a thoroughly beaten squad with no sense of direction, all in front of their home fans. This was as bad as it could get.
Arsenal own the differences against Manchester City
We’re now coming back for the reverse fixture, and for Gooners around the world, it’s nerves upon nerves. But so much is different this time around.
The obvious difference is who’s in charge. Mikel Arteta has already proven so much in his short time at the club and you have to imagine that this personal conquest of his old side will help him step up to the occasion even more than he already does.
Other than that, Granit Xhaka is back. Don’t laugh. Xhaka has been a savior since his resurgence in the Arsenal side and that wasn’t the case last time out. He was on the outs, rumored to be heading back to Germany, and there was no stability in the middle of the pitch. It was Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, both of whom have been on the outs since Arteta took over—and it’s easy to see why.
David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi were both left out last time. For good reason, but nowadays, they are stone-cold stalwarts on defense, wouldn’t you say?
And more than that, Nicolas Pepe has truly found his element, which was just a dream during the reverse fixture.
Need I go on? There are so many factors swaying in the Gunners favor that, while nerves are understandable, a lack of confidence is not. There is every reason to be optimistic that the Gunners are ready for this challenge.
Just remember what we did against Chelsea, another direct rival. And remember what’s at stake. This is a club that’s up for the challenge.