Arsenal and Manchester City are going to be the two title contenders this season. They have yet to face off, with their first Premier League match being postponed. This Friday night, they will play each other in the FA Cup. It will be fascinating to see how they compare on the pitch. Although this isn’t a Premier League match, a win for either team would be a huge mental boost in the title race.
Manchester City have won 12 of the last 13 matches against Arsenal across all competitions.
The Norwegian international has been a revelation in England. He already has 31 goals across all competitions. Although Guardiola will have a preference to rest him in this competition, it is likely that City go full strength for this game. This is due to Arsenal’s position above them in the league table. A win is important in giving City belief that they can overtake their rivals in the league. There has been some criticism of Haaland recently, with some suggesting that he has made City worse, despite his goals. That seems unfair and he reminded the world of his quality with a hat trick against Wolves. It showed his clinical edge in front of goal. He will be desperate to play a major role this weekend and help his team though to the next round.
It has been another excellent season for Bukayo Saka. At the weekend, he was the star against Manchester United. His goal was an incredible strike from range and underlined the confidence flowing through his game at the moment. Saka caused constant problems for his international team mate Luke Shaw and will feel like he could have scored more on another day. This season, he has contributed eight goals and seven assists across all competitions. He offers a dual threat in the final third. Manchester City have been vulnerable at the back in recent weeks. Saka will feel confident that he can have a big impact on the result on Friday night.
There are no new injury concerns for Arsenal. Gabriel Jesus remains a few weeks away from a return to action. Mohamed Elneny and Reiss Nelson remain on the sidelines.
This is a very difficult match to call and it will tell us a lot about both teams. Arsenal have passed every challenge that has come their way and they are now seen as the best team in the country. To back that up, they need to beat Manchester City. Guardiola will know the importance of this game. A win will breathe belief through the club. I think the home side will have enough quality and big game experience to win. It should be an excellent game.