Friday, March 1, 2024

Arteta hails City as Europe’s best ahead of defining period

Mikel Arteta has lavished praise on Manchester City labelling Pep Guardiola’s side “the best side in Europe”.

The Etihad outfit have embarked on a 12-game winning run in the Premier League to open a 10-point gap on Leicester and Manchester United and look odds-on to secure the title having lost out to Liverpool last season.

City’s start to the current campaign didn’t hint at such a revival in fortunes and even injuries to key stars Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne hasn’t stopped them in their tracks.

Ahead of Sunday’s clash with his former side, Arteta admitted his players face a “big” challenge.

“I think they are the best team in Europe at the moment,” he told

“The way they’re performing, the football they’re playing and their consistent results.

“What they’ve done is react to difficult moments. A big team has to be able to do that. When everyone was doubting their ability to be able to compete again and be the team that they are, they reacted in a really convincing way, all united, doing what they do best and being very consistent by winning games very comfortably.

“They have weaknesses like every team but at the moment teams have struggled a lot to find any of them. First of all, defensively they’ve been really, really strong. They are without a doubt the best team at the moment. We have a big and a very exciting challenge ahead of us on Sunday.”

Currently 10th in the table and with the three sides above us all with games in hand, Arsenal face a very tough challenge qualifying for Europe from the remaining 14 games of the season.

The next five weeks will be absolutely pivotal as big encounters against Leicester, Burnley, Sp*rs, West Ham and Liverpool stack up one after the other.

The boss knows all too well, it’s do or die.

“That’s when we will define our season, if we are able to close the gaps in those games with them,” he said.

“It’s going to create some momentum for us and we’re going to get closer to them. We know that the margins for error are minimal with the season that we’ve had in previous months, so we need to kick on.

“We want to be us. It doesn’t matter who we play. I want to see a team that plays with the character and personality that we have shown in recent months. I want us to keep continue maintaining that line.

“If we do that, we will cause problems to any team. But we need to do that from the beginning. We obviously want to show other teams respect but still be true to ourselves.”

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Would you rest players like Saka for this match? Difficult to see is getting much out of this game and we have more winnable games coming up.

Naked Cygan

100%. We have to rest every first-team player for the Benfica game. City has won 16-17 games in a row. No chance we will win this one, if we do Arteta should be Knighted.


I agree that I don’t see us winning against City, a point may be a (distant) possibility. I very much doubt that MA will field a completely different team against City, although there will be some changes. If he did so and we were destroyed – as would almost certainly be the case – it would have a bad effect on the squad I think. We may get thumped anyway but at least we wouldn’t be asking for it.


Good point but I would change all 11 and play a block defensive game and consign a gritty lose to the archives


agree 100% and even if we were to win…..does it really mean Top 4? Almost certainly not. A good league finish has gone and we should focus on the EL


And ESR, he seemed empty towards end of benfica game


Unleash Willian against them, that’ll teach them




Give Willy the freedom of the Citeh


Might as well give Willian the full 90 mins so he is too tired to play against Benefica
*wry smile*


Yes, but he won’t. It seems to be Arteta’s M.O. to play the same team until he’s forced to change. Wouldn’t expect more than one or two. Hopefully holding gets back in and sticks in the team. Luiz should be a break glass option at this stage. Not a staple.


I’d like to see a front 3 of Pepe laca and Martinelli. Give tierney the first half and see what happens. I wonder going forward could Pepe play cf. he’s one of the best finishers in the team and can win headers. I don’t like Pepe on either wing. I think he’d be more dangerous with less game involvement I.e pointless step overs on the wing and play on the shoulder of cbs instead

Laca New Signing

I’d even try a LacaPepe forward in a makeshift 3412 Willian free roll behind them, KT MO CC HB mid
Pablo Gab Holding defence
The German Spiderman in goal.

Gabi Xhaka Auba MØ Luiz Cedric Mat bench

A man can dream innit?


City are light years ahead of us, on and off the pitch, but in fairness they have had advantages that we obviously don’t/can’t have. We need to concentrate fully now on getting as many points as possible in the remaining PL games (even against the seemingly unstoppable City, unlikely though that may be) and hope that teams above us slip up so we can secure an EL qualifying place come the end of the season. It’s going to be a tough ask, but not impossible. That said, we can’t afford another sustained “dip” of the type we’ve had twice already… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Were it not for an influx of money, we’d be light years ahead of them. Let’s never forget how FFP fucked this up so badly.

Call it envy. Call it sour grapes. But you don’t even need a good recruitment policy if you can just buy a £50m replacement if it doesn’t work out with your £50m signing.

Fuck City. Fuck them right in their oily balls.


Yes, possibly but the influx did happen so it’s idle speculation. As for FFP, it was never going to be effective as the clubs with most to lose under any rules system that was fully/properly applied, were the same ones that played a huge part in drafting the rules we ended up with.

Anyway, we can strike a small blow (in whichever part of their anatomy comes to mind) by ending City’s record-breaking (our record, of course) run of consecutive wins by getting a point off them – although I think all three are beyond us on current form.


I agree. All this praise of city is total bullshit. Never mind it being revisionist, where were the boners when city were 6th on Christmas Day? They have a 50 million player in every position and one youth prospect has finally broken through after a decade of financial doping. Fuck them and fuck their praise, they should win everything. Plastic, joke club. Do one.


I love this comment.


Every single club on this earth is beatable on any given day – that is probably the only certain constant in the beautiful game.

Who knows lads… just visualise a 3-1 and our boys might just surprise us. (Pepe to get 2 – fed cunningly by Odin’s God, in the game he finally shows us what he can do).


Haha this. But tbf I don’t know any city fans and they are still kind of irrelevant to me. If they win the league I literally feel nothing, and that’s fine as long as they stop Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea or the Spuds.


that’s how i feel about them; it’s like the advantage they have almost makes their success a moot point for me – who wouldn’t win everything with the best manager and a blank check every transfer window. it really doesn’t bother me any more. i’d way rather have the plastic, soulless oil team win than Chelsea, Spurs, or United. I guess I don’t mind Liverpool as much, because Klopp and many of their current players are pretty likeable.


Agreed except Chelsea are also a soulless oil team but much more dislikable. I also like Klopp but Liverpool fans make me want to vomit so they can sit and spin.

Billy bob

Totally – Man City is preferable to ManUre, spuds, chavs and bin-dippers


No one expects us to be able to win this game, but perhaps that could be our advantage.
I don’t see us having that much to loose. Hopefully the players can play without any inhibitions and just go for it.
I will remain naively optimistic until the game starts 🙂




Wouldn’t surprise me. Luiz has actually been decent recently. But the thing is, he tends to be just that until he goes full “Luiz” and ruins everything

Baichung Bhutia

I watched the Everton – City game and thought this could get real ugly for us. Except for Leno, Gabriel, Bellerin, I have no clue who else will start. If ever there was a game for blind optimism this is it.


More like Middle East’s best.

Fuck sportswashing.


Yip, much better to be sponsored by that squeaky clean regime in Rwanda … bring bk JVC

dave peterson

best to look at home before speaking about clean amigo x


Rwanda is a pretty complicated place, friend. And not very rich, and not trying to sports wash. Very very different scenario.

A Different George

There is indeed a difference between having a tyrannical regime as a sleeve sponsor, however much I dislike it, and having a tyrannical regime as an owner. But of course it is sports washing, though of less grand ambition. As is the name on the front of Arsenal shirts, and on our stadium, so that we associate their country with the hostesses who usher our players onto the pitch, in non-covid time, with smiles and grace, rather than with the bombs dropped on Yemeni children.


Read the latest news .on war hero being put on trial … .. then decide.


Play the u23s. Can’t be arsed with this one. We have nothing to play for and they are light years ahead of us. Even if we sneak a draw (won’t happen) it will be after 90 minutes of last ditch defending and wave after wave of city attacking. and quite frankly I’d rather claw my own eyes out. At least of we play the youth we can pretend we would have won with the 1st team. It will make us all feel better.

I doubt we’ll see as much rotation as some are expecting, but I can see 3 possible changes; Tierney starting this one after his 30 minute cameo last night (even if he only plays the first hour); Holding should come in as the almost 34 year old Luiz is a stretch to play 3 games in a week; And Arteta may be cautious and throw in Elneny instead of Ceballos. Personally I’d go for broke and play Ceballos – but can he play 3 times in a week after his injury lay-off…. There’s still a decent chance of getting 7th… Read more »


“Defining periods” don’t usually end well for us….

Thought we’d rest a few against Benfica, players looked leggy

Hopefully we don’t implode this week, or Arteta doesn’t break any of our players through lack of rotation….


Play a back 5, pack the midfield, press for 90 minutes and hit them with Auba on the break. Our FA cup run last year showed that is the only way to have a chance of competing with and getting an unlikely result against technically superior opposition. Otherwise City would beat us even playing with nine men.


I’m putting this in writing here: I have the faintest of faint, sneakiest of sneaky feelings that we may just do something heroic on Sunday.

Mikel’s Coat

Probably jinxed it there, mate


Absolutely jinxed it. Optimism is always quiet.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Obviously he was asked a question, but I don’t think he should be praising them that much before the game. Who can blame his players for going into the match with the attitude of already being beaten.

“So Mikel, what’s your thoughts on Man City”?

“They’re a very good team and on a great run of form. To beat them we must be at our best”.


Jon Moss hasn’t issued a red card this season, but then he hasn’t reffed us (live) – until Sunday!


Did not get to watch Benfica match.

Usual people slating Xhaka for one bad pass when Partey has done the same.

The second leg will the one to reserve all our efforts for. we need to be in europa.

With this weekend, anything beyond a loss is a plus considering level of opposition. Not expecting much.

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