Man City Preview: All or Nothing
Man City has been a dominant force in English football for quite some time now, and that dominance has seen Pep Guardiola’s outfit win four of the last five Premier League titles, with that Liverpool win in the 2019/20 season being the only blip, and as expected, Man City finished as the runners up. The club has also won four of the last six League Cups and one FA Cup in the 2018/19 season, following the win in the 2010/11 campaign.
Pep Guardiola’s arrival in 2016 has come with a huge wave of success, with the Catalan manager amassing an impressive 11 trophies including almost winning the Champions League two seasons ago. This campaign hasn’t been any different, with Pep guiding Man City to an FA Cup final showdown with eternal rivals, Manchester United, as well as a semifinal berth with a measure of revenge in their minds, when they take on the UEFA Champions League defending champions, Real Madrid, and of course, the Premier League two-horse title race with Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta signed two key players from Man City last summer and their collective experienced galvanized the way the team plays, offering a different perspective from how Arsenal used to operate as an attacking unit. In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners had a forward that was more or less a poacher, waiting to feed off the ammunition supplied from his teammates in the final third, and in Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal got a defensive forward that tried to focus on buildup play, rather than finishing. Both strikers departed and Arsenal signed Gabriel Jesus that revitalized the attack with his determination, team work, creativity, sultry skills and work rate, even though his finishing leaves a lot to be desired. Oleksandr Zinchenko, however, was a God sent, as his presence in the team has seen him occupy two positions, left back and central midfield, adding some dynamism to the plays of Granit Xhaka and Gabriel, and if you add Gabriel Martinelli’s output, making Arsenal’s left side of attack as potent as the right side that primarily features Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Starboy, Bukayo Saka.
After what has been a roller coaster of a season, Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium tonight knowing that anything less than a victory might all but seal their Premier League title winning fate, as a direct repercussion from the terrible results the Gunners have garnered in the weeks leading to this all-important clash with Man City.
This is a particularly wretched fixture for Arsenal, with the Gunners losing 11 consecutive top-flight games to Manchester City, their longest losing streak versus any opponent in the club’s league history. Pep Guardiola’s City side have won all six Premier League home matches against Arsenal by an aggregate score of 17-3. Both sides have already met twice this season, with Man City knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the fourth round and sweeping the Gunners aside in their Premier League clash in February. The Cityzens are particularly in a hot streak at home, winning all 11 games this calendar year, and you’d have to go back to their clash against Brentford before the FIFA World Cup for the last time they dropped any points in their home turf. In Erling Haaland, they have one of the world’s most potent finishers, with the Viking chieftain just two goals shy of breaking Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s 34-goal Premier League record. The cyborg has scored 48 goals thus far this season, which is more than the amount of goals Manchester United have scored in the Premier League this campaign.
Arsenal has been unbeaten in 10 games, following that messy 1-0 loss to Everton in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge, but they followed that with seven wins in a row before a disappointing run that saw Arsenal drop points against Liverpool, West Ham and most recently, Southampton. Arsenal can take solace from the fact that Man City concede a lot of goals with Ederson keeping just six clean sheets in the last 20 games he started between the sticks. Mikel Arteta will be looking to break his hoodoo against Guardiola, as he has lost all six Premier League clashes with his former mentor.
To team news, Man City will be sweating over the fitness of Nathan Ake that has been nursing a thigh injury. Guardiola had the luxury of resting the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Rodri in the FA Cup semifinal win over Sheffield United, so you’d expect them to all start tonight.
Arsenal still has the same absentees from previous encounters, and its very likely that we might not see William Saliba in action this season, as his back injury remains a challenge. The medical staff are hoping surgery might not be required to mitigate the issue, but his chances of featuring again this campaign might be slim to none. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mo Elneny are still out, and Granit Xhaka will be having a fitness test to confirm his availability for tonight’s clash.
Man City vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups
Man City: Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Laporte; Stones, Rodri; Mahrez, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland
Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, G. Jesus, Saka.
Injury / Suspension Updates
Man City: Nathan Ake (thigh)
Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), William Saliba (back), Granit Xhaka (illness)
Man City Form
- Last Five Games: W W W W W
- Last Result: Man City 3-0 Sheffield United (Mahrez 43′, 61′, 66′)
- Leading Goalscorer: Erling Haaland (48)
- Last Five Games: W W D D D
- Last Result: Arsenal 3-3 Southampton (Martinelli 20′, Odegaard 88′, Saka 90′ | Alcaraz 1′, Walcott 14′, Caleta-Car 66′)
- Leading Goalscorer: Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka (15)
Gooner Daily predicts a 2 -2 draw.
Kick Off – 8.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.
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