Ahead of Arsenal’s upcoming home encounter with Manchester City, we decided to try to pick the best combined starting line-up to see just how far the Gunners had fallen from their perch of serious Premier League title contenders.
The bad news for Arsenal fans is that we only managed to squeeze three of their players in and knowing how much Man City like stealing their assets, another raid cannot be written off in the near future.
Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure were all players that were regular first teamers at Arsenal before the millions of Manchester City swooped to take them to the Etihad.
Only two of these are now regulars in Roberto Mancini’s plans and so it seems about time that he found his chequebook again so Man City can mount another transfer assault on the Gunners.
Retaining their best players is one way that Arsene Wenger could go about becoming a domestic force once again and fortunately Jack Wilshere has been tied to a long-term contract to suggest that his future is safe for now.
The futures of Santi Cazorla and Thomas Vermaelen are not so assured and based on the below, they look the two players that would have the most appeal to Man City and may be willing to depart Arsenal if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
It is 17/20 that Arsenal do finish in the top four this season.
Another centre-back would certainly not harm the reigning champions, with Toure looking a shadow of the player that previously lined up for Arsenal and Joleon Lescott potentially on his way out after falling out of favour.
Matija Nastasic has showed vast amounts of promise and has been doing an amicable job for a player still in his teenage years.
But a player with more experience would potentially be a wise addition in the short term and Vermaelen was reportedly being considered by Man City in the summer just gone.
With David Silva not firing on all cylinders this season, Man City have at times struggled for creativity, especially as Nasri can be a bit hit and miss.
Cazorla’s impact at the Emirates has weakened in recent weeks and he is not the best fit for an attacking central role, given that he has no real desire to run beyond a lone striker.
Playing Cazorla wide in a front three may enable him to be more creative and this is a position he could fit in at Man City, alongside Silva and Sergio Aguero.
The most contentious inclusion in our combined Arsenal and Man City team is likely to be Gareth Barry, but with so many attackers on show, a deeper midfielder with tenacious qualities is of greater need than another ball player like Mikel Arteta.
Finding a decent holding midfielder who has a game based around enforcing the defence and winning back possession is surely of most necessity for Arsenal, if Theo Walcott can prove the answer to the goal-scoring void left by Robin van Persie.
Arsenal will need Cazorla on song if they are to justify their price of 17/10 for victory over Man City.
Alternatively, Man City can be backed at 6/4 to take three points from the Emirates, with the draw on offer at 12/5.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date