After their respective European exploits over the week, Arsenal and Manchester City return to the Premier League to face each other in a massive match before the international break.
Manchester City return from Naples as triumphant winners and already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League. They’ll come back to Manchester to play what should be an easier match. Arsenal have struggled away from home in the Premier League in 2017, while City are yet to drop a point at the Etihad this season. They’ll look to continue that run by brushing aside the Gunners and stay firmly at the top of the table.
Arsenal have had their issues away from Emirates Stadium in 2017. They only have one Premier League win away from home this season and have won only away from home four times in the Premier League since the turn of the year. This does not bode well when facing the league’s top team away from home. They’ll look to channel their performance in their 2-0 win at the Etihad in January 2015, but being able to repeat that is unlikely.
Manchester City will be without captain Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy as the two continue to recover from their respective calf and knee injuries, according to Physiorom.com.
Arsenal will be missing backup keeper David Ospina, Danny Welbeck, Shkodran Mustafi, and Santi Cazorla. According to Physioroom.com, the first three could come back after the international break, while no return date is known for Cazorla.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
Pep Guardiola has a small army of attacking threats at his disposal, but De Bruyne is arguably the most dangerous one. He led the league in assists last season and already has six assists 10 matches into this season. The Belgian is a creative powerhouse and has thrived under Guardiola. He cuts teams up for fun and he could have quite an enjoyable time against a vulnerable Arsenal defense.
Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey
If Arsenal are to have any chance in this match their midfield of Granit Xhaka and Ramsey will have to hold strong. The Welshman’s discipline will be particularly key. His best quality is probably his late runs into the box, but he will have to avoid getting sucked too far up the pitch too often. Leaving Xhaka isolated could be a death sentence against the lethal counter attack of Manchester City. Ramsey will have to make sure he picks the right times to supplement the attack and avoid leaving his Swiss partner exposed.
It’s hard to see City losing at home to this Arsenal team. Arsene Wenger has done reasonably well against Guardiola in the past, but this one may be a bridge too far for the Frenchman.