on we go...

Welcome back to our digital matchday programme.

A busy international break is over and it's back to the bread and butter football, as they say.

As we continue to play games behind closed doors, so our offering for games has become a little more bespoke.

We all look forward to the day when going to the match returns - and it will - and we are able to do all the routine stuff we maybe took for granted once again.

In the meantime, it's on with the show.

In this edition we have many of the usual features including Pep's manager notes and Buzzer's take on recent events in his regular column.

As ever, we also take a detailed look at our opponents and their season so far, as well as a focus on manager Mikel Arteta.

We also have BBC 6 Music's Marc Riley and his sideways look at life, and Kev Cummins provides another fascinating sneak behind the lens as he recalls stories of the great and good.

'Pick That One Out' is a new feature that recreates a great goal against whoever we are up against, so there was none more fitting that Kevin De Bruyne's stunner against Arsenal from last season.

We'll be back for our Champions League clash with Porto next week, so until then, keep well, stay safe and keep cheering the lads on from your front room.

Pep's NOTES

Good afternoon, everyone.

The international break is over and it’s back to domestic football. I can’t wait to get going again.

Since I last had the chance to speak to you, the transfer window has closed. I am delighted with the business we have done, and I want to thank everyone at the club for their support.

Nathan Ake has significant Premier League experience, is strong, quick, good in the air and can play in multiple roles. He brings real quality to our squad and strengthens my options at the back.

Ferran Torres is a young player with so much potential. We’ve seen already he has quick feet and a really sharp footballing brain. And, honestly, for a player who is just 20, his work ethic so far has been amazing.

Our new goalkeeper, Zack Steffen, has performed very well in our two Carabao Cup games. In terms of style, he’s exactly the kind of ‘keeper we need here at City.

And I was so impressed with Ruben Dias on his debut at Leeds. He was outstanding, and his attitude in training has been first class. He is young and will need time to settle, but he has everything needed to be a top defender for this football club.

It was great to welcome Ruben but, of course, it meant saying goodbye to Nico, a person I admire greatly. A fighter, quality defender and top professional, I cannot thank him enough for his contribution during my time here. I will miss him, and I know the whole squad feels the same.

We will also miss David Silva, Claudio Bravo and Leroy Sane. We wish all of them the very best on their new adventures.

Today we welcome Arsenal to the Etihad for what should be a great game of football.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mikel Arteta, a man who played a significant role in our success during his time as my assistant. I will always be grateful to him for the job he did here, a period in which he showed impressive dedication, hard work and knowledge of the game.

It’s no surprise to me how well he is doing at Arsenal. They have made fantastic progress in just 10 months.

For managers, these games are the ultimate test, and I cannot wait until the game kicks off.

It has been a complicated start to the new season, given our preparations began late because of our Champions League involvement and then the early international break. It’s meant we have had so little time to prepare, but it is what it is. We cannot complain. We have recovered some players from injury and fitness levels are getting back to where I would want them to be, and I feel sure we can have a successful season.

Okay, enjoy the game everyone – and please stay safe. These are difficult times for the whole of society and health is the most important thing.

I want you to know how much the players, my staff and myself miss you being able to come to the stadium to see us play. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before that changes.

Best Wishes,

Pep. 

PUMA

Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee shares his view of recent events and our game against Arsenal

I really enjoyed our trip to Leeds before the international break as it gave me a chance to reminisce back to the days when we had some ding-dong battles at Elland Road.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw some bruising encounters between two great sides, but no matter how competitive, the friendship and respect we had between us was genuine.

It brought back a lot of great memories of some lovely people. I know the ground was empty, but I can imagine what it would have been like had the ground been full.

Leeds have a good young side and a great coach and maybe we should have won the game. but we came away with a point which I think will prove to have been a decent result.

It's going to be a difficult season for many sides in the Premier League this year, as the 8-2 win for Aston Villa over Liverpool and the 6-1 win for Spurs at Old Trafford have already suggested.

Matches will be hard to call and I think it will be a strange campaign for the players and the fans and the longer it goes on, the more I think it will affect the games.

It's a tremendously hard era to be in, but the people behind the scenes are doing a wonderful job of ensuring everyone's safety when games are played.

Moving on to this game against Arsenal and I think we all realise it won't be easy. Mikel Arteta learned a lot from Pep and no doubt Pep learned some things from Mikel.

Arsenal are well organised and playing well, so we'll have to be at our best to take three points. But we've coped well with our injury problems and the young players who have stepped up have done extraordinarily well, as have our new signings.

I think Ruben Dias will be a big player for us - I think he did ever so well on his debut and we have players coming back, so fingers crossed.

I don't think this will be a season to remember for football fans everywhere, but will be memorable for reasons we'd rather forget.

I'm just doing as I'm advised and like most people, following the guidelines we are given.

Until then, we just have to get on with it and enjoy our football as best we can.

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.

We’re flying to more than 50 worldwide destinations and we’re introducing new measures to keep everyone safe, comfortable and protected when they travel.

When you’re ready to start flying again, you’ll be safe in our hands. Because for us, your wellness is always our main priority.

Your wellness, our priority

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 measures that focus 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 deep cleaned at every destination, and our filters on board remove 99% of microbes in the air – because cleaner air means cleaner cabins.

And for even more peace of mind, our team of Etihad Wellness Ambassadors are always on hand to share advice and answer your question – online, on board and at the airport.

Visit etihad.com/wellness to discover more.

COVID-19 cover with every ticket

Wherever you choose to fly to, you can travel there with confidence thanks to our global COVID-19 cover, included with every Etihad Airways ticket.

If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst you’re away, we’ll take care of your medical expenses and quarantine costs. 

Find out more at etihad.com.

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 31 October 2020. So, if you’d prefer to travel at a different time, you can change your flight for free. Simple.

Dream Team

Club legend Dennis Tueart, who made 276 appearances for City and scored 109 goals over two periods, selects the players he values most in his City XI – and in this instance, they are all former team-mates… 

Take it away, Dennis… 

“I’m going to start with Joe Corrigan in goal. A terrific keeper who became No.1 through sheer hard work and determination. Glyn Pardoe was his goalkeeping coach and he worked him so hard, but it paid dividends because he became one of our greatest keepers. 

“At right-back, I’ve chosen Willie Donachie. Willie had two great feet, which is why I’ve put him on the right and was a great athlete and had good distribution. My centre-back pairing is Dave Watson and Mike Doyle. 

“Big Dave would win everything in the air all day long and was always a great man-marker – distribution wasn’t his greatest attribute, but he wouldn’t be in this team for that. Alongside him would by Doyley – a great leader on and off the pitch. If he wasn’t happy with something, he’d let you know but he was also a great athlete and good passer of the ball. 

“My right-back is Paul Power. I used to room with Paul and he was a great captain and very studios about his role and took it seriously. He was a fantastic athlete who could run up and down that left flank all day long. 

“In the midfield, I’ll start with Colin Bell on the right – I honestly don’t think I need to state why because he was just a fantastic footballer. In the middle, I’ve chose Asa Hartford. Asa was a great passer of the ball with either foot and had an edge to his game in that he didn’t mind leaving his foot in. every now and then. 

“On the left, it’s Gary Owen. Gary had a sweet left foot and was only a young lad breaking through when I left for New York Cosmos – but a great talent who maybe should have scored more goals than he did. 

“My front three is Peter Barnes on the left, myself on the right and Joe Royle through the middle. Barnsey was one of the most talented teenagers I’d seen when he broke into the side and in a one-on-one, I’d back him to beat his man every time – and knowing that allowed me to get into the box and support Joe. 

“Joe was a great target man – strong and a real handful for defenders and he would often make chances for me by knocking the ball down from crosses or long balls forward. 

“As for my subs, Alex Williams would be the back-up keeper, Nicky Reid and Ray Ranson because they were young, athletic lads who had energy and determination. Steve Mackenzie was a great passer of the ball – who could forget his volley in the 1981 FA Cup final replay? Tommy Hutchison would be in there as he was great for that team I returned to play in – he had so much experience and was a classy player.  

“Kevin Reeves would be my back-up striker and he only just missed the starting XI because of Joe’s greater experience, but was a great forward, nonetheless. Finally, Dave Bennett was a talented lad who was only slight in physique but was strong and difficult to get the ball off. 

“My manager would be Tony Book. Tony rebuilt the side quickly after a lot of ageing players had moved on and his decision to sell Rodney Marsh allowed Peter Barnes to come through and flourish. Plus, Tony understood me more than most and gave me the freedom to make my won decisions on the pitch which definitely got the best put of me.” 

the season so far

Starting the season with a trophy is a habit Pep Guardiola would certainly endorse, so defeating Liverpool at Wembley at the end of August to win the Community Shield will have particularly pleased Mike Arteta.

After a 1-1 draw in normal time, Arteta's men triumphed 5-4 on penalties to give their 2020/21 campaign the perfect start.

The Gunners' Premier League opener was a London derby away to Fulham, and the newly-promoted Cottagers were easily swept aside 3-0 at Craven Cottage., with new signing Willian playing as if he'd always been at the club.

Next up was a hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham, United, followed by a 2-0 win away to Leicester in the Carabao Cup.

The Gunners’ first major test of the campaign came at Anfield in the Premier League and despite taking the lead through Alexandre Lacazette, Jurgen Klopp’s side fought back to win 3-1.

The two sides met again three days later, again at Anfield, but this time in the Carabao Cup and with much-changed personnel.

The Gunners held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw after being denied a late penalty and then knocked them out of the competition on penalties – and again by the same score of 5-4.

Bring matters up to date, a 2-1 win over Sheffield United gives Arsenal nine points out of a possible 12 and fourth spot in the Premier League.

It is already promising to be an exciting campaign for the rejuvenated Gunners.

THE BOSS: MIKEL ARTETA

Mikel Arteta left City 10 months ago to manage Arsenal and it’s fair to say he has had a very good start to life in the hot seat.

Arteta served his apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola before branching out on his own and his first 35 games in charge has resulted in a 63% win ratio, with 22 wins, six draws and just seven defeats so far.

Better still, he has already delivered two trophies during that time in the shape of the FA Cup and Community Shield – impressive stars for a rookie manager. More importantly for Gunners fans, he is shaping a side that are disciplined, tactically smart and have fire in their bellies – something the North London club had been accused of lacking over the past few seasons.

Now, he will lock horns with his great friend and mentor Guardiola for the third time in the space of four months and so far, it’s one win apiece. City began the Premier League restart with a 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Etihad, but Arteta gained quick revenge at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final that the Gunners won 2-0.

It’s fair to say City had a bad day at the office in the FA Cup, with a Pierre Emerick Aubameyang brace sending Arsenal into the final where they beat Chelsea 2-1.

Not even a month had passed before the Gunners were back at Wembley, taking on Liverpool in the Community Shield and, after drawing 1-1 in normal time, they beat Jurgen Klopp’s men on penalties.

In fact, Arsenal have met Liverpool four times in two months, with a recent Premier League tussle and Carabao Cup clash last month. The fact that Arteta’s side have won three of those four meetings – albeit twice on penalties – is quite an achievement.

In December, City will travel to the Emirates for a Carabao Cup quarter-final and a fourth meeting in six months, so the tactical battle of wits will continue beyond Saturday afternoon’s clash.

So, what exactly has Arteta done to change things during his first 10 months?

His first job was to change the way the side played, and it is no surprise that the Gunners have followed City in some aspects of their play. The high press, playing out from the back and a change in mentality can all be attributed to the Spaniard’s arrival.

Arteta wanted his team to work harder, run further and play as a team and that led to a change in mindset that has paid dividends quickly. Off the field, he also convinced Aubameyang to pen a new deal and the signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid will add much-needed presence in midfield.

Highly-rated defender Gabriel was signed from Lille and the free-transfer signing of Willian from Chelsea was another astute move - as was extending David Luiz’s current deal – while the public reaffirming of Bernd Leno and subsequent sale of his impressive stand-in Emiliano Martinez was a bold move, too.

Several players have been moved on, as Arteta shapes the team into his own image and the Gunners will be mounting a strong challenge for a top four finish this season. If Arteta can deliver that, plus perhaps one more trophy, next season could see the North Londoners as potential title contenders.

This trip to the Etihad will reveal where the Gunners currently are at in their evolution.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Kev Cummins reveals how the Sex Pistols shaped Manchester's musical landscape

There have been many connections between City and Arsenal over the past few years, since former Gunner Nico Anelka became our first huge signing of the Premier League era.

Kolo Toure, Manu Adebayor, Patrick Vieira, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri and Mikel Arteta have represented both clubs. Joe Mercer, too, won three league titles with the Gunners and collected a fourth as City manager in 1967/68. Then of course there was Brian Kidd, whose association with the Blues goes back to July 1976.

Which is where my story starts.

Because my link with Arsenal isn’t with a former player. It's with an Arsenal-supporting musician, who arguably helped to inspire Manchester to become the best known city in the world for the sheer number of great bands we’ve spawned.

It was 4 June, 1976, a month before Kiddo signed for City, when one of the most mythologised gigs of all time took place at The Lesser Free Trade Hall as the Sex Pistols swaggered into town and played their first Manchester gig in front of approximately 50 people - most who were curious to see this new punk phenomenon for the first time.

Skinny strawberry blond-haired singer John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, along with Matlock, Jones and Cook were the catalyst for the beginning of a new era in Manchester music and their influence on our city, still resonates today. The Pistols were quickly invited back and played the same venue on Wednesday, 20 July, this time in front of a much larger crowd.

We all knew we’d seen something special in that short period.

Lads I knew from watching City were there: Ian Curtis, Mark E Smith, Paul Morley - The Buzzcocks played the second gig with the Pistols. Joy Division and The Fall formed shortly afterwards, as did a host of other bands; many with improbable names and even more impossible ideas.

A scene was born - since when, each generation had added to the rich heritage and fame of our city.

Wherever I go in the world, as soon as you tell people you’re from Manchester, they say: 'Ah! David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Oasis, Joy Division - The Smiths…'

Everybody tells me they want to visit Manchester to be photographed on the bridge made famous by my Joy Division photo. To visit Salford Lads Club - and it’s all thanks to a once scrawny little Arsenal fan.

I’ve worked with John many times over the years, so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to feature some of my favourite photos of the chap in the match programme for this game.

I know he’ll see it and I also know he’ll complain about it. But secretly I also know he’s proud of the fact that he played his part in unwittingly putting our city on the map musically.

And yes, we mean it Maaaanchester...

Kevin's books 'Sex Pistols: The End is Near' (ACC Art Books) & 'While We Were Getting High: Britpop and the 90s' (Cassell) are both available from all good outlets now.

MARC RILEY

BBC 6 MUSIC'S MARC RILEY'S SIDEWAYS LOOK ON LIFE

We’ve all heard of the philosophy of “It’s a bad thing when one team gets a stranglehold on the top flight”. We might even have been ‘guilty’ of uttering the  phrase ourselves at some point. Probably during the 1990s I suspect. Possibly at the end of last season, too. Though funnily enough, not two or three years ago.

If you did - of course you were probably right. For one team to dominate for more than a season or two does undoubtedly take away the frisson of excitement that a weekend of footie would bring…but when you hear Gary Neville utter the same phrase on TV in front of a worldwide audience of countless millions - you know something  is afoot.

The weekend of the 3rd and 4th of October 2020 has to go down as one of the  most memorable in recent football history.

First of all Leeds United had come back to the top flight after an absence of sixteen years.. and boy did we  know it. The ‘newcomers’ held us to a hard-fought 1-1 draw following a hard-to-take defeat by the Foxes. At that point - despite  it being early in the season - one could be forgiven for thinking that our battle to  regain the Premier League title might have been a daunting  one.

Despite this - and due to the fact that I will happily watch football of any level - at any point of any  day  - I sat down on Sunday 4th October to take in what I thought would probably be two good matches, one  of which was taken to be a ‘forgone conclusion’. Yes….THAT ONE.

I dragged ‘Dad's Chair’ to the best vantage point in the living room and was hellbent on not moving unless it was to grab some refreshments from the fridge and or to  take the dogs out for a run in the filthy weather outside.

The first match was ‘entertaining’. I enjoyed it very much. It had the extra frisson of excitement that  comes with a manager facing his former team. From my perspective that match ended well. I was already enjoying this double bill and we were only half way through it. 

Next up on the menu was a match which could well have been painful to watch. It  was  Villa  v Liverpool - also known as the previously mentioned ‘forgone conclusion. The kind of match that on paper you should avoid but in reality you might need to watch because… you… just… never…know.

Come 7pm my mate Dan (a Blue) already had a spring in his step and informed me by text that he was off to the pub to celebrate what he thought would the best part of his day. In fact he was SO happy he even decided to go to a pub that  wasn’t showing the match from Birmingham!

The next 90 minutes led to a series of more text messages instigated by yours truly all documenting the unfolding events at Villa Park. Even at 4-2 he was edgy, but still staying put. 5-2 did instigate another ‘refreshment’ for Dan and could possibly have merited the ordering of a bottle of something very fizzy.  At the news of 6-2 he fired-off the quickest text response ever known to man which  read “GOOD LORD (I am paraphrasing here). THAT’S IT!  I’M OFF HOME TO WATCH THIS” which meant he had approximately nine minutes to make it back from the pub to his house. A walk that would normally take seven minutes…but on this occasion I would guess probably took him just four…three maybe.

He did witness the last goal of what has to be one of the most enjoyable football matches I’ve ever seen in my life. Even for the impartial viewer (not me then) a 7-2 scoreline is always going to be entertaining, whatever the side-issues are, but this 7-2, it has to be said, is (again to use a cliché - sorry) why we love this game so much.

To the untrained eye we should have (on paper) beaten a newly-promoted side. On the same paper Liverpool should have easily beaten a side that narrowly escaped relegation last season.

In short - that’s why some call it the ‘Beautiful Game’ and that’s why we love it so much!

But…SEVEN-TWO? Wow...