Opposition view: Arsenal
By Ric Turner, Wed 09 January 2013 10:27
Ahead of Sunday's clash at The Emirates, Bluemoon caught up with Andrew from Arseblog to get the lowdown on the opposition:
What are your expectations for the remainder of this season?
I'd like a good run at the FA Cup and to find some consistency to secure a top four finish. A little run in Europe would be nice too but I don't really expect us to go that far. Not quite what we'd have hoped for at the start of the season but it's where we are now.
Are you happy with the manager?
At the moment I'm worried about him because it's blindingly obvious that we need to strengthen the squad this month and so far we don't look like doing that. It's frustrating because it's easy to see how we'd be better with a couple of additions but he doesn't seem to have any urgency to do that. Even more so because he's got money at his disposal.
Who are your key players?
Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere and, although had a poor game against Swansea, Per Mertesacker has been our most consistent and reliable defender. Also, on his day Theo Walcott will cause anyone problems but he struggles with consistency.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the summer transfer window?
Yes, I think the signings of Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski have worked out. Together they have close to 30 goals and a load of assists between them, but there was always the sense that we lacked depth, particularly in the striking area. That's still the case and harks back to my earlier point about the manager not spending yet this month.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
I don't think there'll be any in Sunday's squad that will spring a surprise, but in the next couple of years the two young Germans, Thomas Eisfeld and Serge Gnabry could make the breakthrough.
Your Achilles heel?
Lack of depth contributing to a lack of consistency in terms of performance, and our ability to concede any kind of goal at any time to any opposition.
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
While I'd love a striker like Aguero, who I think is a brilliant player, I think Arsenal could benefit a lot more from having Vincent Kompany in the team. He's a fantastic defender, seems like one of the good guys in a game full of cunts, and would add so much in terms of leadership and ability.
What is your perception of City as a club?
I think there was always a soft spot for them when Arsenal and United were battling it out for the title - the enemy of my enemy and all that. I'm generally uncomfortable with the sugar daddy model and I think it's really interesting that City fans are staying away from Sunday's game because of the high price of the ticket. I think it's clear that the way City - and other clubs with deep pockets - operate has a knock-on effect for football. Higher transfer fees and higher wages = higher prices all round. That might be the nature of the game but it doesn't mean it's healthy.
Anyway, regardless of my thoughts on that I'd prefer you lot win the league this season than United because I'd love to see Robin van Persie win nothing.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
Szczesny - Sagna - Mertesacker - Vermaelen - Gibbs - Arteta - Wilshere - Cazorla - Podolski - Walcott - Giroud.