Arsenal Vs Manchester City: Chin The Chinless One

So to today’s important clash with Manchester City. One of two games we have left this season that really sticks out as a massive test of our resolve to finish not just in the top four but the automatic Champions League qualification places. Of course the other games are, at the end of the day, just as important in terms of the points on offer, there’s no getting away from the fact that we’re playing a team of tremendous quality today. A team with whom we would like to be mixing it with for the title next season.

As frustrating as last weekend’s defeat to QPR was, it would be forgotten forever by all and sundry if we win this game. The confidence of the last month or so would certainly return in force and it would set us up fantastically for the final few weeks of the season in which there are tough tests to come. Chelsea of course, are in there, and so is the much loved trip to Stoke. Even Wigan at home can’t be taken for granted since they’ve recently started playing like a team that had been taking it easy and chilling out all season but then happened to glance at the league table for the first time and realised how much trouble they were in, and promptly started trying to sort it out. A bit like me and my bank balance the week before I get paid.

Tottenham’s draw with Sunderland yesterday relieves a certain amount of pressure as it means a draw will be sufficient to see us return to third place this afternoon, although that would mean a productive weekend for Chelsea whose three points by the skin of their teeth over Wigan yesterday sees them move, hopefully temporarily to within two points of us.

So whilst I can make my peace with a draw today, three points is what’s really called for. Not only because of the big picture but also because I’m a small, petty man who is reflecting on the two undeserved 1-0 defeats that we’ve suffered to City this season and hoping that we can get some ample revenge by finishing off their title challenge once and for all. It’s an area we have some experience of, Chelsea’s two-year reign as champions under Mourinho came to an end because we deprived them of crucial points, and we also put the decisive nail in the coffin of Liverpool’s best title challenge in 18 years or so a couple of years ago. It hardly matters in the long run but I could quite cheerfully see us take the wheels off of Manchester City’s title bid as well.

It’s strange in some ways how eminently dislikeable Manchester City have become over the last few years. I can still remember how I and most fans perceived them before Sheikh Megabucks bought them out, they were, in a sense everyone’s favourite underdogs. Living in the shadow of Manchester United (which, incidentally they still are and still would be even if they won the league ten years on the bounce) and seemingly existing for the derby, for their moment when they occasionally beat United. It was quite endearing really. I mean, they were offensively shit and strong candidates for relegation (again), but all they seemed to care about was beating United, and that was a sentiment most of the footballing world could enjoy.

Now, the plucky underdog spirit is gone from City and replaced with an arrogance that not even Chelsea managed in their first few years under Abramovich (and let’s not forget Mourinho’s managerial reign fits into that bracket). Their conduct in the transfer market and in the media smacks of a club who think that they’re untouchable which thus far they’re not. Not on the football pitch anyway. Where once people could have looked at Manchester City winning the FA Cup and enjoyed the underdog’s big moment, now their successes seem like a blow to the sport as a whole.

So, what I’m saying in a roundabout fashion is that I’d like to beat City because of their insufferable arrogance as well as because of the significance of this match to our season. And of course, there’s always that chinless bloke who used to play for us and now plays for them. He’s a complete wanker too and defeating him would be a pleasure, but then he’s ultimately defeated himself by ruining his career through moving to City.

It’s true that by winning today we might essentially hand Manchester United the title, but since there’s no prospect of us winning it I can’t say I care too much about that. In many ways it would be worth it to see City’s faces as they leave the pitch later.

Anyway, enough for now. Enjoy the game and I’ll return soon.

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