The Premier League is a two horse race for the title this season, while a host of teams battle out for remaining European spots as the hope of catching the top 2 seems an unlikely task. Despite this, the match between Manchester City and Arsenal will still be hotly contested affair on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester City have been in excellent form since questions were asked about Pellegrini during a tricky period in the early stages of the season. Since then though, the current English champions have gone 14 matches unbeaten. Defensively, City can be unpredictable; a run of 4 matches without conceding has been followed by 5 matches against sides in the lower half of the Premier League – and the Championship (Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup) – with 7 goals conceded.
Arsenal have had a disappointing season and again there have been talks about the transfer strategy at the club with problems being seen in both midfield and defence. This has resulted in the main seemingly being trying to finish in the top 4 and the unsatisfied groans may return to the Emirates before the season has finished. 3 defeats in 10 matches isn’t crisis level, but two of these defeats came against Southampton and Manchester, while they dropped points against a struggling Liverpool side – a sign that Arsenal’s problems with teams in the top half of the league continuing.
Samir Nasri has been ruled out against his old club, but Vincent Kompany has been declared 100% fit. Edin Dzeko is doubt for the match and an choice will be made over the next 24 hours.
Arsenal announced this week that both Arteta and Debuchy will be out for around 3 months, while Danny Welbeck is expected to be unavailable for a further 2 weeks. Wilshere and Diaby occupied the physio room as well, where they’ve probably got their own named seats.
A recent return from injury means that Aguero it is questionable whether the striker will make an appearance from the start or off the bench; there is plenty more quality in the Manchester City team though – namely David Silva.
With Arsenal lacking a quality defensive midfielder to help guard a defence that has been shaky at times this season, Silva’s ability to drift into pockets of space and make the opposition pain will be the main route to a home victory. The lack of strikers in December saw David Silva step up and score 4 goals in 3 matches to take his total for 6 this season, while he has created 39 chances with 2 resulting in goals – a total he will hope City are more clinical in the second half of the season.
The Chilean international has single-handily won games on many occasions this season and is a class above the rest of the Arsenal side.
His constant hassling of defenders and direct running could be a problem for City, with Mangala adapting to the Premier League slower than hoped and a mistake looks inevitable when pressure in possession. The main asset that Sanchez has brought to Arsenal though is goals – and lots of them. Sanchez has had a direct hand in 25 goals in all competitions this season – 17 goals and 8 assists – 12 goals and 7 assists have come in the Premier League making the £35m that was spent on him last summer look great business.
Manchester City are unbeaten in 8 matches at home with 6 victories included in that run. Meanwhile, Arsenal have only won 2 of their last 6 away matches and lost 3 of those matches.
City’s home form has been impressive in the last few year – in their 20 matches at the Eithad, they have scored 46 goals and only conceded 16.
Arsenal have a poor record away to Manchester City with only a victory and draw returned to them on their last 6 visits.
Everyone knows how these games go now, don’t they? Manchester City to dominate the possession, go a couple of goals ahead, before an Arsenal goal in the second half means the score doesn’t look as bad as the performance.
Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1