Arsenal face a big test as Manchester City visit the Emirates for the early kick-off on Saturday. Much has been made of Arsenal’s early away match woes to the top teams last season. Arsenal lost away by a combined score of 17-4 to Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea in early kick offs. The Gunner manager Arsene Wenger has brushed aside any concern with early matches, telling The Independent: “[We were worse] away from home, but I think the coincidence was that we played against very strong teams away from home at 12:45.” And he continued, “At home, we have played well at 12:45. In the FA Cup, we had great games at 12.45. It is not the kick-off time, it is your performance, how you turn up.” Hard to argue that it’s your performance that counts. “We have now got the opportunity to show that we have grown as a team, that we are more mature and ready for the fight, so let’s do it,” said the Arsenal skipper of the clash with Man City.
Last season Arsenal were overrun in midfield in those early clashes with the big teams. Having failed to bring in a much needed defensive midfielder in the transfer window and with their best midfielder, Aaron Ramsey, likely to miss Saturday’s match with an ankle injury, Arsenal fans will hope the Gunners do not get overpowered in midfield on Saturday. More early failure will leave Arsene asking for a transfer window breakfast ball.