It is ludicrous to compare Arsenal and Manchester City, Manchester City are 15 points ahead of the pack, while Arsenal languish at 6th place, 8 points from fourth place.
Well, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, Similarity in Intent of football style, -Arsenal claim to play beautiful football, intricate passing, possession, movement, and the fact is, currently Manchester City are actually playing the same attractive football. Unlike Jose Murhinio, whose style and target is totally different, both clubs are run by managers who want to play possessive, passing football. It’s just the case that Manchester City are implementing is much better on the pitch!
The second reason if far more important, I am an Arsenal fan, so …..
I have no data on this, but while watching football games, it just seems that Manchester City are passing the ball at higher speeds than Arsenal. The speed at which Kevin De Bruyne hits the ball to Aguero or Sterling is very high, and yet they manage to keep the ball in control. Even short passes are fast, and usually you can hear the ‘thud’ as ball is passed.
Arsenal on the other hand seem to pass it much slower. Wilshire, to some extent Xhaka pass it firmly, otherwise it is mostly gentle passes. Even in the middle of the pitch, even with more space, Arsenal tend to roll the ball more.
Now theoretically, high speed passes come with latent energy and should be difficult to control, surprisingly Manchester City maintain good accuracy and control on such passes.
This is the most significant deviation between the two managers. Arsenal are simply reluctant to sign a Top Goalkeeper. Cech has fallen accidently in Arsenal’s lap. Otherwise at the turn of the decade you had Almunia, Fabianski, Szczesny, players sadly remembered for their goof ups in front of goal. Wenger has shown great reluctance in spending for a good goal keeping option. The top teams have world class goalkeepers (barring Liverpool), and Arsenal have never spent much on that position.
Guardiola on the other hand, pegs a lot of things on goal keeper. I guarantee you, if Wenger had gone to Manchester City two years back, Joe Hart would still be the first choice keeper. Guardiola has had there now, when his experimentation with Bravo failed, he immediately went for Ederson. There is great deal of inertia at Arsenal to sign Keepers
Cross and Long Balls
Manchester City switch the wing of play in an amazing fashion. How many times we can Sterling or Sane getting a high ball looped into them, almost near the box from the half way line. Ederson with his long balls, actually long passes is instrumental in setting the tone. This adds variety to the city game, the switch from intricate passing to another gear with those Cross balls.
Arsenal do this very rarely, and generally Crosses are made only into the box for scoring from the corner flag area. Arsenal simply lack the accuracy to change wing play in a single pass, it always has to be slow passing.
Since the departure of Robin Van Persie, anyone in football realized that Arsenal needs a world class forward. Unfortunately, Arsene Wenger did not feel the need to. Ozil and Sanchez are the two marquee signings made, and both of them are midfield players, who can make great passed to a out and out striker.
I think Arsenal would still have been in top four if they had signed Lacazette an year earlier.
That Suarez deal would have made Arsenal unbeatable. Arsenal simply got linked with, Benzema, Higuain, and even Vardy, but none of them came, and all of them have had better spells at other clubs.
Pep Guardiola, inherited a world class forward in Augero, yet he could not resist signing Jesus in January of last year.
Now many may point to the money that Manchester City have, however Arsenal did put in a 95 million bid for Lemar, just imagine with that kind of money, Arsenal could have had a goal scorer! Even Klopp has added the likes of Mane, Salah, Wenger has not!
The OX played as a winger, currently Bellerin plays as a winger. Both players pale in comparison to Kyle Walker. The invincible side had Ljungberg, Pires, such players are lacking.
Sometimes I feel, as an Arsenal fan, we latch on the memories of the Invincible season, it has been more than a decade that Arsenal have won the league, yet we harp on those memories, We should just chuck them off, and understand that football has changed a lot, and Arsenal unfortunately have been left behind
As a Gunner fan last so many years, I feel Arsenal fans are the most optimistic people in the world. Year on Year, we hope that this is Arsenal’s season, and change will come. However, this season change has come!. In a way Arsenal will be forced to change, with Sanchez leaving, and possibly Ozil, Arsenal have a golden opportunity to change things.
Such an inflection point had come with Arsenal around 2010 season, however around those seasons, Arsenal were consistently within striking distance of title, a couple of Christmas’s were celebrated at top of the league. This year, top four seems out of bounds!
I now understand what United fans must have felt for last 5-6 years as Manchester United failed from one season to another. A change was forced upon them, in the way they signed Jose Murhinio, contrary to club’s ethos, as they wanted success.
Similarly, Arsenal now need to change things radically. Now whether Wenger leaves or not is debatable. However currently crisis is beyond coach, it’s about the squad, and Arsenal needs to make a statement and sign big players. Manchester United was able to lure players even when they were in the Europa league spots, pure because they were always in the headlines, keeping the club relevant. Sign another forward, a goal keeper, and a good winger at for starters, and then build from there!