We’ve missed you…

Welcome to our digital City matchday programme as we host Arsenal at the Etihad.

Football is finally back and for the remaining home games of the campaign, we will publish our matchday programme online for free.

We had created printed programmes for Arsenal and Burnley before lockdown began and we may try and make these available to supporters at a later date.

Of course, much of the content from those games has since dated, but we are keen for our fans to have the best experience possible when City start playing again, so for now, we hope this offering fills one of the voids of not being at the Etihad.

We have some regular features and some new stuff and we hope you enjoy reading it in the run-up to the match.

We’ll publish our Burnley edition at the weekend and continue with our digital offering for all our remaining home games.

manager notes

Pep's thoughts ahead of the game...

Good evening, I hope these notes find you safe and well wherever in the world you are reading them.

Since our last matches we have all gone through an extraordinary time in our lives and it isn’t over yet. We will miss you all tonight because supporters are an integral part of the game, but we know you will be cheering us on from your homes and we hope to see you again very soon. 

Of course, there is much unfinished business in terms of football and tonight we restart with the visit of Arsenal. We extend a warm welcome to Mikel Arteta and to his staff.

Mikel needs no introduction to anyone connected with Manchester City.  He knows very well the esteem in which I hold him as a person and a coach and he knows, too, that this club thinks very highly of him.

Life, however, moves on in football as it does in all its other facets and tonight Mikel is another opponent that we want to beat as we seek to ensure the highest possible league position and continue in the good form that we enjoyed in the last few weeks before the lockdown

Arsenal will be tough. They remain in the race for the top four with many others and we know well their quality. They also know about ours!
Pep Guardiola

The players have had a long wait since they last played so we do not know about their form. Before the enforced break we played five away matches in a row which is always tough both physically and mentally.

They were, however, in the main very successful trips. We won in four separate competitions. At Leicester in the Premier League, at Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, against Aston Villa in the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley and at Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup round of 16. Hopefully, we will continue that kind of form for the rest of the season.

Of course, the stand-out victories were at Madrid, which is such a hard place to go and win for any side and at Wembley where we lifted the Carabao Cup for the third time in a row. That was our sixth consecutive domestic trophy and the eighth of the last nine on offer since the 2017/18 League Cup.

This is an exceptional group of players that has produced extraordinary results over a sustained period and since returning we have continued to work as hard as we can, striving – as always - to improve.

Winning titles is so important for us in this stage. Winning games and titles help our mood and confidence, but I think in general this season we have played well. Our levels have been good, and we want to end this season with momentum. 

Enjoy the game everyone and stay safe.

the BUZZWORD

Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee's column...

It won’t be easy but playing behind closed doors is the only way to return to action.

I’ve been watching some of the Bundesliga matches with crowd sounds being played, so we’ll have to see how it goes here and what ideas are implemented.' 

The players have been off for so long, they will be desperate to get out and play again – I know I would have been – whether the crowd was there or not, and I think as long as all the Premier League and government guidelines are followed, everything should go well.

One thing I am sure of is that Pep Guardiola will have the players ready to go when we restart against Arsenal.
Mike Summerbee

It will be good to see Mikel Arteta back at the Etihad for the game on Wednesday. I got to know Mikel during his time at City and he’s a nice man, very educated and focused on what he is doing. He has learned a lot from Pep and I think he will go on to be a very successful coach.

It will be interesting to see how the game goes.

The Premier League title looks likely to end up at Anfield this season but there is plenty to play for. We have the FA Cup and Champions League still to play for as well as finishing as high in the table as we can. We already have the Community Shield and Carabao Cup and it would be another great season if we can add another trophy in the weeks ahead.

It was Glyn Pardoe’s funeral on Monday and obviously a sad occasion for everyone. Glyn was a true Blue and a one-club man. Glyn was a far better player than he realised and I’ve doubt he would have gone on to play for England.

I used to say that whenever I was up against him in training, it was like a day off for me because he was one of the very best I’d ever faced and hardly got a touch! He had a terrible injury against United but he tried to fight back against the odds with lost of lonely days and weeks trying to recover with the help of the physio, He did al that, and I think it shows what sort of man he was because he never complained about his situation.

He was quiet, shy and loved by his team-mates and now Tommy Doyle, his grandson - a shining light for the family - will carry on the family tradition set by Glyn and Tommy’s other grandfather, Mike Doyle.

I’ll be back for the Burnley programme so until then, take care and stay safe.

our opponents...

Mikel Arteta brings his improving Arsenal side to the Etihad for perhaps his sternest test since taking over the club.

Pep’s former No.2 took command of the Gunners just before Christmas and has brought with him much-needed stability.

He took over an Arsenal side that were looking for a new direction having won just seven of their opening 26 fixtures in all competitions under the management of Unai Emery and then caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Arteta had been on the Arsenal board’s radar for some time. A popular former player, he was learning his trade under the best in Pep Guardiola and was regarded as one of the best young coaches in Europe.

Though there had been some reported interest previously, when Arsenal formally offered him the post, Pep and City did not stand in his way. Unveiled as the new manager just before Christmas, Arteta didn’t waste any time getting to work on the training ground.

A shift in tactics and mindset quickly bore fruit, with a high press and much more energetic feel about Arsenal quickly becoming evident.

His first match on Boxing Day was a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth and though Chelsea left the Emirates Stadium with a 2-1 win three days later, Arsenal started the New Year with an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United.

Next was a hard-fought 1-0 win over Leeds United in the FA Cup before a 1-1 draw was secured away to Crystal Palace. Draws against Sheffield United (1-1) and a quick return fixture with Chelsea (2-2) continued the improvement and a 2-1 win at Bournemouth in the FA Cup 4th round kept hopes of silverware alive, too.

A gritty 0-0 draw at Burnley proved Arteta’s Arsenal could match steel with silk and an impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle kept the points tally ticking over, but perhaps the biggest disappointment to date came in the Europa League, where, despite beating Olympiacos 1-0 in the first leg of the Round of 32, a surprise 2-1 loss at the Emirates eliminated the Gunners.

Sandwiched in-between those clashes with the Greek giants was another gutsy 3-2 win over Everton.

If Arteta had been looking for a reaction to European elimination, he got it in the shape of a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park that booked an FA Cup quarter-final berth against Sheffield United.

Prior to the scheduled visit to City last March, the Gunners edged a London derby victory over West Ham United to boost their hopes of gate-crashing the top four of the Premier League, which they are just six points off, with a game in hand over the majority sides above them.

So, just three losses in his first 15 games and plenty to play for in his first campaign as Arsenal boss, it has been a solid start for Pep’s former right-hand man and if he can add one or two new faces to his squad during the summer, the North London side could once again be challenging near the top of the Premier League before too long.

Here’s to bright blue skies …

Looking forward to brighter skies and a future filled with adventure? So are we. When you’re ready to start flying again, book your well-deserved trip with Etihad Airways for flexibility, more choice and total peace of mind. Visit etihad.com.

As borders open and our network grows, we’re continuing to introduce new measures to keep everyone safe, comfortable and protected when they travel. Because for us, your wellness is always our main priority.

When you’re ready to start flying again, you’ll be safe in our hands.

Your wellness, our priority

With Etihad Wellness, you’ll feel more in control of your health and wellbeing at every point of your trip – before you travel, on board and when you reach your final destination.

Using clever, self-scan technology, optimised seat maps and new queuing systems, we’ve limited touchpoints and made sure there’s more space between you and other guests at all times.

We’ve introduced additional deep cleaning at Abu Dhabi airport and on board, focusing on the surfaces that are touched most often. That includes our check-in counters, toilets, seats, and entertainment screens, so you can feel comfortable knowing that we disinfect every touchpoint of your journey more regularly.

All of our aircraft are cleaned and sanitised every time they reach their destination, and because we know that cleaner air means cleaner cabins, our filters on board remove 99% of microbes and regularly refresh the cabin’s air.

And for even more peace of mind, we’ve also introduced a team of Etihad Wellness Ambassadors. They’ll share advice, answer your questions and make sure you’re up to date with the latest regulations and guidelines for when you arrive at your destination.

Visit etihad.com/wellness to discover more.

We’re here for you 24/7

Our dedicated team of Wellness Ambassadors are available 24/7, so you can rest assured there’ll always be someone available to help. Chat to our Wellness Ambassadors online, meet them at the airport or speak to them on board – they’ll be with you at every step to make sure your journey is as comfortable as possible.

Freedom to fly when you’re ready

Sometimes, plans change. And that’s ok.

To give you the freedom to change your plans if you need to, we’ve introduced more flexible fares and removed our change fees on flights booked before 30 June. So, if you’d prefer to travel at a different time, you can change your flight for free. Simple.

You deserve a break – we’ll help you pay for it with 50% extra value

We can’t wait to welcome you back on board and whisk you away on your holiday. Until that time, we’ve introduced Etihad Travel Vouchers, to give you more to spend on your well-deserved break in the future.

Buy an Etihad Travel Voucher before 24 June 2020 and we’ll add 50% to the value of your voucher for free. So, if you buy a voucher worth £1,000, you’ll have £1,500 to spend on your next trip.

Use your Etihad Travel Voucher to pay for flights and extras from 1 August 2020. Your voucher is valid for two years, so you have plenty of time to plan the perfect trip.

For our best fares and flexible holiday packages, book at etihad.com.


CITY V ARSENAL: A FIXTURE WITH PLENTY OF HISTORY

A look at more than 126 years of matches


Though the first meeting between City and Arsenal was technically the 1893 clash between Woolwich Arsenal and Ardwick, the first time Manchester City played the Gunners (still with Woolwich as part of their name) was 1894.

We lost the first three fixtures and won the next three, setting a trend for a fixture that has ebbed and flowed over the years, dominated in large parts by the Gunners, but by City over the past decade. Between December 1894 and February 1904, we would lose just one of the 12 fixtures played.

Then, it was Arsenal's turn, winning seven of the next nine fixtures between December 1904 and October 1908. In  fact, just two of the first 24 clashes ended in a draw, so it was perhaps inevitable that three of the next four would end in ties - this included the 2-2 draw in January 1920 which was the first time the clubs met as Arsenal v Manchester City - the fixture we know it as today.

City would edge the 1920s decade, with nine wins to Arsenal's eight and again, draws were scarce - just two from 19 meetings. The Gunners' dominated during the era of their great manager Herbert Chapman, winning seven on the bounce during a period when four Division One (top flight) titles were secured by the team nicknamed 'The Bank of England Club' due to their wealth.

Arsenal also enjoyed two FA Cup triumphs and City one (as well as losing a final in 1933). This was also the decade a strong Manchester City side won a first league title in 1936/37 - the Gunners finishing third that year before regaining the title the season after.

City had achieved the double over Arsenal in '36/37 - but the favour was returned the following campaign, as defending champions City were relegated!

The War meant it would be nine years before the teams locked horns again and between 1937 and 1954, Arsenal would remain unbeaten against City for 14 matches - eight wins and six draws.

Despite a brief respite of five games without defeat to the Gunners between 1953 and 1955, what was becoming a case of 'normal service was resumed' thereafter, with City failing to win any of the 13 fixtures played between 1955 and September 1961. The Gunners were becoming something of a bogey team for City, and the 1960s, when we enjoyed great success under Joe Mercer, Arsenal again dominated, losing just two of 15 fixtures!

At least the 1970s were better for City who won seven of the 22 fixtures, drawing six and losing nine. But even the most pessimistic of City fans wouldn't have imagined the 3-2 win at Highbury in October 1975 would be the last at the Gunners' old ground - given they would remain there for another 31 years.

It was one of City's worst runs (on par with Anfield and Old Trafford for the next three decades) when it was almost accepted that a trip to North London would end in defeat.

Indeed, between 1978 and 2008, Arsenal completely dominated this fixture (look away now if of a nervous disposition) losing just four of the next 49 meetings home and away, winning 34 and drawing 11.

Then, finally, the tide began to turn.

City won three on the bounce at the Etihad and in 2011, some 36 years after our last away win against Arsenal, Sergio Aguero's 83rd-minute winner at The Emirates ended one of the top flight's worst runs as City secured a 1-0 League Cup win.

And between 2009 and 2014, City would lose just twice in 12 games - a long-awaited bounce back for our supporters! And bringing the story up to the present day, our last 10 meetings have seen just one Arsenal victory with City winning the last six - easily our best run in this fixture.

City v Arsenal is indeed is a very old fixture and this meeting will be the 198th in all competitions. We need a few decades of dominance to chip away at Arsenal's 96-56 victory margin, but we're working on it!


CITYZENS GIVING INITIATIVE LAUNCHED


City Football Group (CFG) are proud to announce the launch of Cityzens Giving For Recovery, a 12-month campaign bringing together its nine clubs, thousands of staff, players and coaches, and millions of fans, to help communities get back on their feet.

CFG is the world’s leading private owner and operator of football clubs. It is best known for its ownership of English Premier League Champions, Manchester City FC, and also comprises New York City FC in the US, Melbourne City FC in Australia, J-League champions, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona FC in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China, Mumbai City FC in India and Lommel SK in Belgium.

CFG has been supporting the emergency COVID-19 response for the past three months, through almost £1,000,000 of donations, in-kind support and loaning of facilities.

As the Premier League season prepares to restart, CFG is now aiming to deliver a minimum of another £1,000,000 of funding and support through Cityzens Giving for Recovery, which will focus the Group’s donations, expertise, facilities, resources and voice, on making a positive difference to the recovery of its communities globally.

CFG will action this through its clubs, its staff, its players, coaches and fans. Many of the Group’s partners will be supporting too, one of which is Etihad Airways, which is helping to kick off the campaign by dedicating the front of Manchester City’s shirt, ordinarily bearing its company branding, to “Cityzens Giving for Recovery” for the Club’s first game of the Premier League restart. 

CFG will be matching pound for pound, donations for the funding of nine recovery-linked projects near to each of its clubs; an extension of the traditional annual Cityzens Giving campaign.

The Group is also enabling every member of staff across its network to spend a day volunteering, amounting to thousands of hours of giving. Fans can get involved too, by donating to the projects, fundraising and submitting ideas to help their communities which CFG may be able to support.

Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive of City Football Group, said: “Front line workers around the world have heroically responded to the immediate threat of COVID-19. At CFG, we have been privileged to play our own small part in helping to address that immediate threat.

“Now is the time for us to look forward, committing to meeting our responsibility to help our communities recover. For the first time, we are harnessing the global resources of our nine clubs, our entire network of offices, staff, players and coaches to focus our efforts on recovery.

“This multi-faceted campaign is going to use our expertise, our facilities, our platform and our voice to help people and our communities to heal and recover. And we will do it together. We are calling on our global community of Cityzens to help us to give and to help as many people as we can to recover.”

MIKEL ARTETA: factfile

BORN: San Sebastian, 26 March 1982

PLAYING CAREER: Barcelona B (1999-02), Paris St Germain (loan, 2001-02)., Rangers (2002-04),
Real Sociedad (2004-05), Everton (2005-11), Arsenal (2011-16)

LEAGUE RECORD: 422 appearances, 62 goals

HONOURS: Rangers (SPL & League Cup, 2002-03), Arsenal (FA Cup, 2013)

MANAGEMENT League Record (to 7 Mar 2020)

Clubs P W D L Pts
2019- 10 4 5 1 17

AS COACH: Manchester City (assistant coach, 2016-19)

MEMORY MATCH:

Mikel Arteta was a Premier League player for more than 11 years. Signed on loan for Everton by David Moyes in January 2005, he made his final appearance in May 2016, going on for the last few minutes in a 4-0 win against relegated Aston Villa. This was time enough for his shot to rebound off the goalkeeper, Mark Bunn, for an own goal and to claim yet another assist!

Olivier Giroud a hat-trick as Arsenal leapfrogged North London rivals Tottenham to take the runners-up position behind Leicester City.

Team: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel Paulista, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla (Campbell 88), Coquelin, Wilshere (Elneny 69), Ozil (ARTETA 88), Sanchez, Giroud. Unused: Ospina, Gibbs, Ramsey Iwobi.


PLAYED FOR BOTH: NICOLAS ANELKA

COLUMNIST KEVIN CUMMINS RECALLS A MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD PLAYER...

In May 2002, City signed Nicolas Anelka for a record fee of £13 million. He was definitely the highest profile player to ever join City up until then (unless you count George Weah - which still doesn’t seem real).

In July of that year, I was commissioned by FourFourTwo magazine to photograph Robert Pires and 'Nico' for two cover features for the start of the coming season - both were sponsored by Puma, and Puma asked me if I wouldn’t mind spending a couple of days in Monaco to do the shoot. I checked my diary … er no, I didn’t. I was at the airport before they’d even discussed commission fees.

It was glorious. Both players were brilliant to work with and I got a series of really good shots from it. I couldn't help but tell Anelka that I was a City fan and how much I was looking forward to him joining us. I also asked why on earth he wanted to come to Maine Road! He told me he was really impressed with Kevin Keegan and that he felt he could learn something from someone who’d been such a great player.

There was only one moment when my rather limited French, was misunderstood and that’s when I asked Nico if I could photograph his bare feet with the ball. He had such gnarly toes that I thought it’d make a great portfolio photo. He looked at me in surprise and said: "You want me naked? You want to photograph me naked?" And started taking his shirt off. I looked mortified and as I started to stammer an apology, He laughed and told me he was just winding me up.

I always like Nico and in that first season he played for us - the final season at Maine Road - he was always charming and was one of my favourite players to work with while I was shooting my book. Nothing like his ‘Le Sulk’ persona that the media tried shoehorning him into.

DREAM TEAM:
JON MACKEN

Former City striker Jon Macken has selected his all-time City XI from a mixture of legends past and present...

Jon Macken played for City between 2002 and 2005 after signing from Preston North End, and will always be fondly remembered for his dramatic winner against Spurs in 2004, when 10-man City recovered from 3-0 down to win 4-3.

 Take it away, Jon…

“So, why have I picked this team? Here are a few reasons. Joe Hart – I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves at times. He was an absolute snip at £600k and went on to lift the Premier League twice and play more than 300 games.

“Paul Lake was an unbelievable talent at such a young age. Captained the side, also. Sadly wasn’t able to play through injury, but for me was an fantastic player. 

“I played with Richard Dunne  and know first-hand how good he was when he was on his game -no-one could get past him and he had everything and was a strong real leader 

“Vincent Kompany is a true great of not only City but the Premier League. Giant of a man on and off the pitch with his presence.

“Paul Power - I was bit young to remember that much, but remember how much of a leader and powerful demanding player he was. Real City legend “Yaya  Toure came to City and absolutely dominated the Premier League midfield for years. 

“Georgi Kinkladze was just a dream to watch and every game you knew he would produce something special. 

“Colin Bell – a bit before my time, really, but watching old footage and what my dad and family told me is enough.

“Kevin De Bruyne: I do believe he is in the top three in the world and when you watch him you can just see how he controls the game. Unbelievable talent who can go on and become one of the greats.

“David Silva has not only been one of the Premier League’s greats midfielders but a City legend with 10 years of brilliance.

“Sergio: For me, he will go down as the best striker ever in the Premier League. Plus that goal against QPR will live in people’s minds for many years to some.

“Finally, my manager has to be Pep – he’s a football genius and his kind come along once in a blue moon.”


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MARC RILEY COLUMN

BBC 6 MUSIC DJ ON LIFE IN GENERAL...

Like all of you, I suspect, I have never experienced a more strange and stressful period in my life. 

Many of us have lost loved ones or know of friends have have suffered one way or another at the hands of this pandemic. I don’t think the phrase “puts everything in to perspective” has ever been so pertinent.

One week the Champions League is the most important challenge on our collective horizons… the next week it is simply staying out of harm's way.

The playing of football matches behind closed doors is no new thing of course, but it is usually based around collective misdemeanours and wrong-doings.

Tonight it’s all about doing the Right Thing.

Once the Bundesliga was announced as returning I made a deal with myself that I’d pick a German team to support and do my very best to whip up a huge passion for this group of (largely) unfamiliar men and attempt to rekindle the gamut of emotions I draw to the surface at City games.

In all honesty I knew full-well I’d never really be able to manage this… but I seriously wasn’t prepared for how monumentally I was about to fail. My chosen team was Borussia Monchengladbach.

There was no rhyme or reason for this. I didn't even look at where they were in the league table. I thought that would be cheating.

On Saturday 16 May they were playing Eintracht Frankfurt away.

COME ON!!! My team  won 3-1!! 
GREAT START MARC!!! HOORAY! 
WELL DONE MY TEAM!!!

I hope it was a great display littered with dazzling skills and much camaraderie!  

My transparent uncertainly about the sequence of events during said game comes from the fact that I didn’t actually see how the match unfolded.

Despite looking forward to it all day and getting an ice-cold refreshment out of the fridge just before kick-off, I spent all-but the first 15 minutes of the match of in my front garden drinking said ice-cold refreshment in the sun and watching the world go by.

In short, I tried… I failed.

For this Gunners return however I am fully prepared to get my knickers in a twist (for one reason or another)… raise my voice (for one reason or another)… and drink some more ice-cold refreshment (for one reason).

None of us will forget 2020 in a hurry… but as Pep rightly said, compared to the lives we have lost - football is unimportant.

But here we are...

Marc Riley