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Media Watch

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Arsenal's November 'curse' to strike again?

KEY MEN: Kevin De Bruyne congratulates Fernandinho on his strike

KEY MEN: Kevin De Bruyne congratulates Fernandinho on his strike

Plenty of views from the other side of the fence this morning as the national media focus on how Arsenal might approach today’s game at the Etihad.

There’s a mixture of optimism and dread in the stories floating around web and in the tabloids, though the Gunners seem confident they can head back down south with something from this afternoon’s clash - plus some interesting seasonal stats.

We'll begin with the Mirror, who point to one statistic that might worry the travelling fans this afternoon.

Researching Arsenal’s November stats over the years, the article suggests Morrissey's song ‘November Spawned a Monster’ may be an apt theme for this month from a Gunners point of view!

It reads: “November got off to an inauspicious start for Arsenal , although Gunners fans were probably expecting that.

“Over the years, the club's fans have grown to dread turning the calendar over from October, with the ghosts of Halloween seemingly extending into the 11th month of the year and haunting Arsene Wenger and his side.

GIVING ORDERS: Pep and Wenger on the touchline.

 

“And after the goalless draw with Red Star Belgrade - a result which admittedly secured qualification to the next round of the Europa League - fans will be worried that the same thing is happening again.

“During Wenger's 21 years in charge, Arsenal have won 37, drawn 18 and lost 26 of the 81 November Premier League matches they've played, which comes out at just 1.6 points per game.

“And with Manchester City on the immediate horizon and Tottenham to come after the international break, this is a month which doesn't look like getting any easier.”

By 4.15pm today, we should know if the above has a point or not!

Moving on, Sports Mole focus on Arsene Wenger’s optimism as they write: “Despite the tough task awaiting his side at the Etihad Stadium, Wenger believes that Arsenal - who sit bottom of the top-six mini-league since the start of last season - have what it takes to send out a message.

‘We have an opportunity to show we can do well against a big team away from home,’ he told reporters. ‘It is one we want to take and I'm sure everyone in our camp will be focused on that.

‘They are good, I don't want to take anything away from Manchester City at the moment, they are doing extremely well, they are top of the league and top of the European group stage. As well it is a good opportunity for us to show we can compete with them and that is what we want to show.’

Moving on and The Sport Review carry former Arsenal defender-turned-pundit Martin Keown’s opinion that one player in particular has the ability to sway this game the visitor’s way.

They write: “The FA Cup holders will make the trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium this weekend hoping to avoid a humiliation at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s team.

“Former Arsenal defender Keown believes Ramsey will be the key man if the Gunners are going to have any chance of springing a surprise against the Citizens this weekend.

‘Ramsey holds the key against Manchester City on Sunday,’ Keown told the Daily Mail.

‘Yes, he arrives late in the box to score but does he get back alongside his midfield partner in time when Arsenal do not have the ball?

‘He cannot afford to vacate the midfield for too long against City. While Ramsey possesses such a great attacking threat, if he leaves Granit Xhaka exposed on Sunday then De Bruyne and Silva will destroy Arsenal.’

TOUR DE FORCE: Kevin De Bruyne

 

Gunners unofficial site the Daily Cannon suggest Wenger might have to do without one of this season’s star men at the Etihad as they report: “Arsenal may have to do without Sead Kolasinac at the Etihad on Sunday as the defender seems to have suffered a setback/new problem.

“Arsenal are also not expecting to welcome back any of their other injured players for the trip to Manchester on Sunday.

“Shkodran Mustafi, who injured himself on international duty in October, and Danny Welbeck, who damaged his groin in the 2-1 defeat to Watford, are both expected to be back after the international break.”

We’ll wait and see on that one!

That’s all for today – more tomorrow with all the reaction and opinion to the game against Arsenal…

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