On 10th August 2014, they came to Wembley with a renewed hope of winning titles. A sentiment that an average Gunner would have in the beginning of each and every season. They managed to beat the current holders of the coveted title by three goals to lift the Community Shield. The feeling of winning again, on the basis of a very elegant performance, is surely blissful.
This weekend the two foes meet yet again to verify if what happened in August was sheer luck, show of the true Arsenal, or was it an attempt by Manchester City to provide Arsenal with some hope to carry into the season.
With Welbeck sealing the deal on transfer day, injury prone Ramsey having a good run of games, Giroud and Sanchez satisfied with their cuts, Cazorla and Wilshere showing positive signs early in finding the defense breaking runs of the strikers and Walcott returning to “full fitness”, everything is seeming to go Arsenal’s way and eventually place them as a strong contender for the top four…….yet again.
Here are a few head-to-head comparisons between the two based on their past performances:
1. Arsenal had won 18 of their first 22 EPL fixtures against Manchester City, but has only managed to win three of the last 12.
2. Manchester City has only won one of the 17 previous games away at Arsenal. The last being a 2 – 0 win in January 2013.
3. Arsenal is following a transfer trend as that of Manchester City. As Manchester City poaches on Arsenal, they have started to do so on Manchester United.
4. The Gunners have won more games in September than any other side (48).
5. Manchester City have not lost two consecutive league games since October 2010. That is suggestive.
Fixing Arsenal’s problems cost money. A seasoned defender might have added stability. New imports will attract fans. However, a revitalized Arsenal will require large-scale investment on players that can be counted upon when the time comes.
Perhaps there is a political agreement to be made that is unrealized here.
Whatever the case may be, Wenger still has the ability to strong-arm management and make deals without any prior approvals, particularly when those deals benefit the Emirates.
Arsenal isn’t what it was, and, of late, neither is Wenger.