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How we will beat City – Defend like Dogs, Man Mark de Bruyne, Press, Scramble and Pounce

City have definitely had our number lately.
And with good reason – they’re better than us, with a superior manager and players. And financial backing, no doubt.

 

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However, I believe we can beat them.
Call me deluded, but anything in life can happen.
It may be a long shot, but it’s not impossible.

 

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2017 again? Let’s see.

But these are some points in how we CAN get to a record FA Cup final. And who knows, increasing our record FA Cup wins from 13 to 14. It’s unfortunate that some (,i.e. a club in geographical proximity to us) have had to go almost thirty years without an FA Cup, but such is life:

 

– Defend like dogs

 

The Liverpool game saw us concede possession to them, and whilst they had few definitive chances, we managed to limit them to long shots and cleared their crosses. This is a good accolade, considering Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are expert crossers of the football.

However, City’s style is not as intense as Liverpool’s but more intricate. We need to read their intent and watch their moves and runs, especially from the likes of Sterling, Mahrez, and (if fit) Aguero.

In either event, it means defending like dogs. It means putting in niggles, covering ground, putting in challenges, and constant communication. It also means going in for every challenge and allowing no loose balls.

It means developing a devilish attitude to defending, which we had under George Graham and which persisted under early Wenger.

Our defensive dogs cannot let City take our bones, or it could mean defeat for us.

 

 

– Man mark KdB

 

 

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League

De Bruyne for me is a PL-era GOAT.
His form alone in their centurion PL title and the domestic treble last season warrants this, as does his immense technical ability.

So why not man-mark him? But Torreira on him, or Chambers (if fit). Or Sokratis. We know Papa likes a physical challenge, and he would relish this.

In addition to man-marking KdB, we also need to stifle their attacking third, as both Silvas (Bernado and David) can be expert as de Bruyne in locking us.

Passing sides need time and space to progress and develop – we used to complain that teams would come to the Emirates and park the bus and be defensive. Granted, few teams now do this, but a decade or so ago, few other sides had the technical ability to challenge us. So if Stoke, Hull, or Newcastle did this, they had little other option. They knew it was the best way to limit and contain us, and we have to do something similar to City.

Players such as KdB are central for their play, just as Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, etc. were central for Pep in his Barca side. And note we did beat Pep/Barca once (and his Bayern side) in the CL by matching their immense attacking intent and intricacy.

If we’re to get to the final, we need to effectively limit de Bruyne amongst others, as if we don’t he would look to punish us.

 

– Scramble/attack

 

If looking at how City have beaten us lately, it’s due to their intricate passing in the final third.
however, our strengths are attack-based too, which is why I feel we should scramble them in our defensive third, and then pounce on their defence.

Pepe, Saka, Auba, and Laca, all need to be on point here.
Pepe can carry the ball and can Saka, and Laca can hold things up and knit up play.
Auba’s strengths are finishing chances of course, but his work off the ball and in working the channels and half-spaces are strong.

Does this mean parking the bus? NOt necessarily. But it is acknowledging that City has better technical capacity would look t control the game more. So we have to accept we’ll have less possession, and isolate them in their weak spaces.

And they aren’t perfect either. Their defence is good, though not world-class, and the likes of Stones haven’t proven themselves at all.

Ederson is excellent but prone to gaffes now and then. And as Auba et al like to press (with Auba scoring goals off pressing) then as masters of passing from the back, City needs to watch this.

So it’s important that working hard and being focused is key.

 

– Concentration

 

Arsenal beat Liverpool to end record bid - Sports - observerbd.com

We need to be on point in this game – just as Van Dijk is most of the time.

City has exposed our weak concentration lately.
Various goals we’ve conceded to them over the past few years have been due to defensive errors and lapses.

Mistakes happen as nobody is perfect.
But then we need to be switched on at all times – as not to let them in and utilise their superior technical abilities against us.
In raw technical terms, our defenders aren’t that bad. Luiz has good technique on the ball. Mustafi is strong in the air and has good composure on the ball. Sokratis revels in a physical battle.

But our defenders often lack the mental concentration to keep stable, and suffer from poor decision-making.

We cannot major slip ups here. We need total concentration, including no silly back-passes, odd clearances, or sliding in unnecessarily.

This is my team for the game, based on the points I’ve made:

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Prediction

 

 

More delusion incoming…

 

Arsenal 2-1 Man City

 

We can hope right?
But nothing is written and human perception is limited.
And who knows, maybe Pep and City would underestimate us.
And let’s be frank, the law of averages means we must beat them sometime.
City are good but not invincible nor super-human.

 

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If we do lose, then please excuse me for my prior delusions, and that as a fan I want the very best for our team. 🙂

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