Friday, June 14, 2024

Arteta: Shape-shifting City are a threat but we must play our game

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal must be prepared for Manchester City’s tactical versatility but insists his side will also need to impose their own game when the two sides meet at the Etihad tomorrow.

Thanks to Pep Guardiola, the Blues have been one of Europe’s most tactically innovative sides in recent years, constantly tweaking on-field roles and responsibilities regularly to adapt to injuries, player form and the strengths and weaknesses of opponents.

Nobody knows this better than Arteta who having sat in the City dugout for three seasons, learned at first hand the power of being unpredictable.

“Obviously we have worked on their threats,” Arteta told his press conference on Tuesday morning.

“As well we have worked on their weaknesses and we know where they are. The issue with a team like City is that it starts with the goalkeeper and he’s a threat when the ball is with him and you have to control every single one.

“But just focus on us. We know what they want to do, what they’re going to try to do. They can do various things. They can play with a box inside, they can play with a diamond, they can build a game with three, they can be asymmetric on one side, they can put Bernardo [Silva] on the right and then play a diamond there and put [Kyle] Walker higher.

“They can do so many things that you have to be able to adapt. So I think you have to focus on certain principles to try to take the game where you want.”

When it was put to Arteta that the clear playing philosophy he’s implemented at Arsenal means he can now afford to be less concerned with how opponents set up against them, he was quick to clarify that a balance is required.

“No, I said that we have to focus a lot on us,” he said.

“We need to understand what they can do and we have to be prepared for those changes, which is a lot because they can do it in the beginning, they can do it after 20 minutes, at half time, in the last 20 minutes and you have to be really prepared for that.

“But this cannot absorb your energy to be constantly adapting to it. We have to focus because we have a lot of strengths, in our strengths as well, how we can cause them problems.”

Having netted 48 goals this season, it’s clear that Erling Haaland will be a huge threat to Arsenal’s chances of securing a positive result on Wednesday.

Arteta has been impressed by the Norwegian’s impact but also the way his recruitment has given City new wats of breaking down stubborn opponents.

“When you look at the numbers, there’s no comparison with anybody else,” said the Spaniard.

“As well, he’s able to produce that [goal tally] because the set-up is done in the right way for him, the players that he’s got around him, the way he’s coached, obviously the qualities that he has. So it’s a lot of things that have to be in their way.

“They have, even with him, a capacity to play in different ways, because when they play really far from your goal, they have the capacity to play in different ways.

“When they play really far from your goal, they have the capacity to exploit open spaces and when they are attacking low blocks, now they have a different threat because they are a very physical team right now.”

In the absence of William Saliba – ruled out again with a back injury – it has been suggested that the Gunners might change shape to better cope with Haaland’s threat.

Arteta wasn’t giving anything away. “We will see tomorrow,” he joked.

He also said that having to change the approach in-game isn’t something new.

“That’s what we do every game, you know, in certain areas,” he said.

“Are you talking in ball possession? Are you talking out of possession? In transition moments? Are we talking on the restart? Are we talking on set-pieces? Are we talking on the emotional state? You have to shift it all the time.

“Every opponent demands and questions you different things and gives you different opportunities, and there’s no difference with that team, obviously the quality of the opponent is as good as he gets anywhere in the world, that’s for sure.”

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Regardless of the result tomorrow, I m very proud of this boys. The young squad out did themselves fighting for the title against manc. Having said that, we are beating Manc tomorrow. I have a funny feeling about this. COYG’


Agreed, we’re gonna smash the fuckers into next week, and I can’t wait. COYG’


Gotta believe right! Let’s fucking do it!

Johnny 4 Hats

It’s all about converting chances. We will create. We always create. But we have, have, have, have to take them. I don’t think City score less than 2 goals tomorrow so we need to be scoring all or most our big chances. But I look at GJ and I don’t see a guy who is going to get us those precious goals. I just pray that Saka and Martinelli are in the form of their lives. I’m quietly unconfident. I feel like City know how to play these games and will be cool and calm when needed. But we have… Read more »


I don’t think we’ll thrash them, but I’ll take a backs against the ropes 0-0 for 95 minutes and Holding scores the winner from a corner in the 96th.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Clean sheet with this defence!
What are you smoking?


Arteta is right – fuck City, we play to our strengths, we play the way that has got us here in the first place. And that is to attack and attack and attack again and again and again. Smash those utter cunts until they don’t know what fucking day of the week it is. We need goals – and loads of them, because Haaland WILL score and some other cunt, probably Grealish, WILL score. If we sit off these fuckers, all cautious – they will destroy us. Instead, we have to beat them at their own game – attack and… Read more »


This reminded me of that speech from team America! Fuck yeah!

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

“Flaky defence”.
Imagine what they’ll do to our defence with Holding.
Haven’t City conceded like 2 goals in the last 8 games or something like that


“Something like that”

You’re not even sure of your own argument, but you’re ready to stick the lazy knife into Holding.

What exactly has the guy done in recent games that is any worse than a mistake made by other members of the squad?

Come on, let’s have this hideous Roll of Shame….


Of the remaining games available, this one was always a lost. Best team at home, versus out of sorts Arsenal at the moment. The good thing is we will be the underdogs, so no expectations. Good luck The Arsenal..


Its not like City have an atmosphere or crowd at home which will cause the lads any issues. Arteta should have had them practicing in a library all week to get used to the atmosphere.


i mean, that and..

– City have won all their games against Arsenal at home, since Guardiola has been in charge

– City have won the last 11 league games against Arsenal

– ️ Arteta has lost all six league games against Man City

But.. other than that, we have a chance!


I’m FedExing Haaland a Findus lasagne as we speak, should be with him by tea time. I’ve been very vague with the reheating instructions 🤞


I’m sending another to Grealish – which I’ve blown my nose into and another one to Rodri, that has paid a visit with me to my loo for extra meaty goodness.

Bon Appetite. Gits.


FFS! Not Grealish! If he falls over clutching his gut, the ref will award a free kick and book whoever was standing closest to him at the time.





“Are you talking in ball possession? Are you talking out of possession? In transition moments? Are we talking on the restart? Are we talking on set-pieces? Are we talking on the emotional state? You have to shift it all the time.”



This is about the most Arsene Wenger answer Arteta has ever given.

Absolute genius answer.

Most of the media haven’t got the first idea what football management entails. They can stir up. hits and clicks and sensationalist crap until the cows come home, but get them involved in the technicalities of the game and they don’t know shit from clay.

A Different George

Two possession teams, both capable of quick longish counters but both preferring to force turnovers higher on the pitch. So–I think both James and Blogs said something like this in the podcast–technical security on the ball will matter a lot. City have been playing with a back four of all natural centre-halves. Their right fullback (Stones) had been very good moving into a double-pivot position (with Rodri) but I don’t think he can handle Martinelli’s pace and drive. If one of their other centre-halves (Akanji, probably) moves over to help, then our left 8 or maybe a false 9 (Xhaka,… Read more »


I hope we play Trossard as the pseudo #8 if Xhaka cannot go.

Pat Rice and Beans

If only we had done the basic vs WHU and Southampton, a draw tomorrow would suffice.


We didn’t. It won’t. Move the fuck on and pull like bollocks for a win tomorrow!

Naked Cygan

The chances of winning at City is 3%. Without Xhaka and Saliba we don’t really have a chance to be honest. Even if we beat City miraculously, that would give us an 8 point lead with 2 morre games played. We still have to avoid dropping points against Newcastle, Brighton and Chelsea. After the Southampton result I don’t really see a way for us finishing first. City have moved up a gear and we really suffered with Saliba missing.


I think we are missing the best chance to be Champions this season. Next year with Liverpool and Chelsea coming back, Ten Hag righting the ManUtd boat plus Newcastle arriving in earnest i can’t see us fighting for the title. No way


Could you have predicted us in this position last year? Hell people saying we will be out of europe all together but look at us now. Just believe



You listen to TalkSport and watch Sky for the rest of your life and be sure to take on board every piece of negative anti Arsenal tripe they can come up with in their sad pathetic cretinous little lives

Treat yourself.


Interesting points on tactics. Recent games got away from us after half time. City try something, it doesn’t work, so they re-programme their expensively assembled terminators to kill us another way.


Firstly – I absolutely feel we could win this one. Here are the ‘IFs’: ZERO loose passes and sloppy give-aways; consistent forward pressure – at pace – do NOT bring it to the halfway line, only to turn around and end up back with Rambo; use our wingers ALL THE TIME – run at the powder blue fukkas non-stop, again and again, until we get them onto yellows… and then do it some more (in our last 3 draws, we had most of those defences on yellows in the first 50 mins, only to take the foot off!) get in… Read more »

Nainsley Aitland Miles

If i remember correctly, Holding was hauled off at half time in that game.

Also not sure Mahrez will start; he didn’t in either of their Munich games.


Holding was subbed because he was booked – for having the temerity to do his job and challenge a City player.


They say these things are sometimes meant to be – perhaps not having Xhaka will prove on this one occasion to be a blessing? I would imagine he’d only have to fart tomorrow night to earn himself a red card – the officiating bias against us this season has reached new lows.

I don’t expect ANY help tomorrow night from VAR or the officials; cunts the lot of them.

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