While the FA Cup may not be viewed as a competition that has all too much of a spark left these days, we still think there’s something to be said for just how much the fans enjoy watching the drama unfold. This past weekend, we saw four fascinating quarter-final matches take place as Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all booked their place in the final four.
Arsenal were never really favourites to beat Manchester City at the Etihad on the first day of the Premier League being back in action, but the manner of the 3-0 defeat does leave somewhat of a sour taste.
Coach Mikel Arteta organized his team initially in a 4-4-2 shape, with Shkodran Mustafi joined by Pablo Mari in the heart of defence, flanked by Kieran Tierney on the left and Hector Bellerin on the right. Granit Xhaka partnered Matteo Guendouzi in central midfield, with Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock in wide roles. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah were given the task of causing danger in front of the defending champions’ goal.
It’s going to be a fascinating night of action this evening as the Premier League returns for the first time in over three months. Prior to the game, in his pre-match press conference, manager Mikel Arteta had the following to say.
On his emotions going into the first game:
First of all I hope everyone is there, I can’t see anybody! But I hope you guys are all well, I miss you a lot. It’s been a long process, we’ve been through very different stages but now we are really excited and back to doing what we want to do. Hopefully we can do it in the right way and we can sustain it, so now it is really important that everyone does what is required.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages – we have finally arrived.
After three long months, the Premier League is set to return to our screens on Wednesday night with the first major feature game being Arsenal’s trip to take on reigning champions Manchester City. It kind of goes without saying that City are going to lose their crown to Liverpool in the next few weeks, barring an absolute miracle, and all Pep Guardiola can really do is push forward and ensure his team gives the best possible account of themselves between now and the end of the season.
Those who wanted to avoid the prospect of getting back to playing the beautiful game need to open their eyes and realise that Project Restart is hell-bent on happening – regardless of whether or not we feel weird about it. The best estimate is that we’re going to have football back in our lives in England around the midway point of June, and if it’s any later than that, then perhaps we need to start asking a few more questions.
Arsenal’s game against Manchester City tonight has been postponed due to several players and staff members coming into contact with the Olympiacos owner, who is known to have contracted the coronavirus.
The big concern for many is that Arsenal could now be forced to have a number of other games called off due to the fact that they have to quarantine for 14 days. They have a game against Burnley coming up at the weekend, and while this may all be redundant if the virus continues to spread as it has been doing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that being called off, too.
Arsenal Football Club has announced that their game against Manchester City, previously scheduled for tonight, has officially been postponed. The following statement has been released to the public.
“Our Premier League match with Manchester City on Wednesday night has been postponed.
Following yesterday’s news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has recently contracted Covid-19, we have been taking medical advice and tracing any individuals who had what the guidelines define as close contact with him at the game 13 days ago.
As a result of this exercise we identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game.
On whether we can beat City:
We’re going to go there trying to beat them, for sure. That’s going to be the game plan. We’ll put all the things we can on the pitch to make it difficult for them to create the scenarios during the game, and let’s see if we turn up on the day at our best and we can perform and win the game.
On qualifying for the Champions League:
I don’t know. It’s still a long way to go, we want to go game by game. Three weeks ago it was impossible, now it looks a little bit more possible, but still [it depends on] the results and our performances.
While many fans are excited that Arsenal could actually have a chance against Manchester City after seeing their performance against Manchester United this past weekend, it’s worth being a little bit cautious. This is still one of the best teams in world football, as proven by the fact that they’re the favourites to lift the European Cup this season.
Prior to the Gunners going head to head with City, manager Mikel Arteta spoke about the match and what he’s expecting to see.
As you’re surely aware by now, former Arsenal midfielder and captain Mikel Arteta has returned to the club, this time in the managerial role on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
Following his retirement from playing in 2016 at the age of 34, Arsene Wenger, the manager at the time, offered Arteta to be the head of the Academy. At the same time, he was approached by Mauricio Pochettino to join his backroom staff at Tottenham Hotspur (an option he hopefully never considered at all), as well as Pep Guardiola, offering him a place by his side at Manchester City. Arteta chose the third option and, as Guardiola himself says, grew at the Etihad as he helped the Catalan tactician lead the City team to two consecutive Premier League titles. He was linked with the Arsenal job when Wenger left in the summer of 2018 but was eventually snubbed for Unai Emery. Hopefully, he will have used the time between then and now to further enhance his coaching skills.