With a good run of matches behind Arsenal, getting off to the proper restart will be crucial.
Manchester City in contrast, have had an uneasy go of it to begin the campaign. While it’s only the end of the first international break, City cannot afford to drop too many points, even as the league table appears a mish-mosh of sorts. Arsenal must take advantage while they can.
But we know that a team managed by Pep Guardiola will not languish for too long. Will this game be the match that they fully wake up to this new Premier League season? Or can Arsenal, full of spirit and momentum – as well as new signing Partey – continue to demonstrate that this is not only a new season, but a new Arsenal as well?
A New Era: A Well Organized Arsenal Once Again
While City are as dangerous as ever, there remains a few minds across football that can check them; Mikel Arteta, early in his career, has proven to be one of those minds of course. Serving as their number one assistant surely can’t have been a detriment, but perhaps the more indicative detail is that he was chosen to join Pep’s side after leaving the game as a player. Surely his intellectual capacity was already highly respected by his fellow countryman.
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And so with all of the information absorbed and technique refined, I believe that Arsenal will come out ahead of City. Whether Arsenal can play with Pep and City or will have to play a more defensive, counter-attacking brand, the team will do what it takes to outmaneuver the Manchester juggernaut.
Arsenal likely had the comradery to win the match before making the last minute move to purchase Thomas Partey. Beyond that bond however, despite the effort across the board, depth was a bit of an issue.
The goal is not one win after all, but for great seasons, failing to get Houssem Aouar from Lyon, Partey might provide more balance. And after the move, depending on how quickly he can be integrated into the team, Partey could enable the Gunners to play more positively against such a tough opponent, with more diversity across all competitions.
Arteta has thus far during his reign, depended upon his excellent ability to communicate with tact and clarity what he needs and desires from each individual. Organization is paramount in his message. Partey is in many ways, an extension of this because of his ability to organize, both offensively and defensively, as well as to communicate what is needed in real time as matches become gritty and desperate.
To continue on this journey for Arsenal, to consistent top four and European aspirations, beating City will be necessary. For the road beyond that, both ambition, as well as volition, will be absolutely required.
Europe & England: Total Effort Will be Required for Arsenal to Move Forward Positively
Manchester City is a crucial game because while matches afterwards appear less intimidating, the gauntlet that the Gunners face is merciless to be sure. Seven matches, including the City match, across England and Europe will be played featuring Arsenal from the 17th of October to the 7th of November.
This means that in the literal sense all hands will be needed on deck, so to speak. Everyone will have to play their part in growing something really special in north London. Arsenal have the talent, the mix of skill, youth and experience, as well as the leadership, to make a real impact on the English domestic schedule, as well as on the Europa League.
But it will not be easy. It will wear on players young and old alike and Arsenal are far from the only club having to deal with these horrific scheduling conflicts. However, the club and its players will persevere and the better they are able to do so, the more volition will be born of these successes for future glory.
After City, Europa League group play begins and while Arsenal were blessed with one of the easier bunch of teams, the league matches are all more difficult than much of Arsenal’s earlier schedule.
Leicester, Manchester United and Aston Villa, with Europa League matches in between, is no easy set of games, no matter if you’re home or away. Should the club be able to avoid any upsets, while putting on good performances along the way, it will be difficult to stop the Gunners as the second international break gives way to late November and early December.
A win against City comes first, and so getting off to the right start is beyond important.