So Arsenal have a cup final and remarkably its that EFL cup that Arsene Wenger has seemingly ignored for the majority of his career and now is faced at the point where his figuring out of how Arsenal can beat Manchester City will needlessly decide how harmoniously the rest of his 22nd season in charge at Arsenal continues.
Faced with an acrimonious task of pulling the club from its sixth position in the table to atleast the famed fourth place in the league by bridging a 7 point gap to fifth placed Tottenham, Arsenal do not have much to look forward to in terms of success in this season barring a tumultuous final on their hands and a galvanizing round of 16 against the resurgent AC Milan of Gattuso.
With the league out of their hands and a top four finish almost inevitably not being theirs for the take, the traditional forte of the FA Cup also having being vanquished by the not so mighty Nottingham Forest. At a time like this its quite ironical that the trophy that Arsene has so easily disregarded the past two decades or so now stands before him providing him the lone solace and a sense of achievement in an otherwise utterly disappointing season.
Can he do it this time against supposedly one of the supreme most managers and a tactical genius of a highest order who has his team leading the table by 16 to the nearest challenger. Surely such a team cannot be beaten can it ?
Well the answer to how Arsenal can beat Manchester City is not by exploiting Manchester City’s weakness because with a full stretch team its almost as if they do not have any. The only and simple way in which any team can hope to beat Manchester City is by playing exactly how Liverpool shredded them into pieces in that first 67 in the only game in the entire league that they have lost.
Defend like your lives depend on it, press like mad dogs chasing after a car swooshing past it, and attack with the speed of lightening knowing that this might be the only chance that you get in the match to score a goal. Wigan Athletic certainly did that by scoring with their only shot on target in the entire match. Liverpool did that splitting their entire defense so fast that even Pep Guardiola could not believe his eyes when he realized Liverpool had actually scored during the Firminho goal. It was defense to attack in the blink of an eye in the literal sense and unlike last time around we do have the player to do that. Its what Aubameyang does even in his dreams at night and its what comes naturally to him, rightfully so.
Arsenal need to play to his strength. They need to integrate the shiny new weapon that the club brought and they need to get him at his lethal best and exactly how he is used to playing all his life. Playing off the shoulder of the defenders, Otamendi is fast and so it Stones or Laporte but lets be realistic here we have Pierre-Emerick-Aubameyang he is the roadrunner that every club dreams to have and who can score with possibly the only proper chance that we might create in the entire match. Feed him, connect with him and synergize Ozil’s vision with his runs because that is the only way how Arsenal can beat Manchester City.
Its not that difficult really, all you have to do is make your every shot count and make the opposition regret every dispossessed ball. Arsenal did that very well in their last Cup final at the Wembley. They fought like street fighters and with a better luck and some actually finishing they might have scored a hat-trick in the first half alone.
Use the absence of Delph, the rustiness of Sane or Sterling should they return from injury, the difference in quality between Emerson and Bravo to add to the Wembley magic that Arsenal have recreated so many times bringing Wenger tomorrow his possibly the fourth cup honor in five seasons.
Ofcourse they will have to deal with a magician in the form of Kevin De Bruyne who in my opinion deserves to be the PFA player of the season ahead of Mo Salah. Against Wigan after coming on for a mere 25 minutes he managed to create four goal scoring chances more than any other player in the entire duration of the match apart from Bernardo Silva.
Arsenal’s distances between defence and midfield must be spot on. De Bruyne and David Silva cannot be given any space to work their magic. They are two brilliant individuals who surely know how to punish an opposition if given time on the ball.
City tend to press with two players at the same time which makes it deadly dangerous when passing the ball out from the back and an mistake will be a nail in our coffin for sure. But they also tend to be drawn out of their places due to their dual pressing which Arsene can seemingly use to figure out how Arsenal can beat Manchester City if they can do their one touch passing right like Wenger has historically always taught his team to.
The bare fact is that Manchester City have only lost 2 out of the first 41 matches of the season and Arsenal need to use that rarely used tactic to make that two loses in the space of a week because that probably the only way how Arsenal can beat Manchester City despite having less of the ball.
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