Arsenal are set to welcome Premier League leaders Manchester City to the Emirates as the Gunners look to avenge for their Carabao Cup loss from last Sunday.
Arsenal face off Manchester City yet again after only meeting the Premier League leaders in the recently concluded Carabao Cup Final where the Gunners suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of their opponents. The tie may seem very insignificant for the title race from an Arsenal perspective, but a win could set the tone for an excellent finish to the season.
The week from the Carabao Cup Final loss up until this game has been dominated by talk of speculation surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future as Arsenal Manager, but as usual, the Frenchman said he’s focused on his next game. A loss to City would be a blow for the Gunners in their pursuit of Champions League football for next season.
Pep Guardiola on the other hand, insists the Cityzens are solely focused on winning the Premier League this season and will not be carried away by the recent Carabao Cup Final victory, which was also the Catalan’s first trophy since becoming Manchester City’s manager last season.
The game will be played in sub-zero temperatures as London faces harsh weather conditions, which has been the case all week long, and recent photos revealed snow covered pitches and training grounds. Although there were whispers about the game being postponed due to these factors, so far its a go-ahead from the FA.
Team News and Tactics
Arsenal have a few players they could bank on again after few injury concerns in the past few weeks. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech are all fit for the City game, and Arsene Wenger is set to call all of them for the clash. Alexandre Lacazette, however, remains on the sidelines as well as long-term absentee, Santi Cazorla.
Nacho Monreal is the only absentee for this clash after suffering an injury in the first half of the Carabao Cup Final loss to City on Sunday. This would ideally mean that out-of-form Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac would replace the experienced Spaniard in the lineup.
Arsene Wenger would also be able to field a full-fledged squad and call upon Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the lineup. Mkhitaryan was cup-tied for the Carabao Cup final having played in the competition before with Manchester United, while Aubameyang is ineligible to play in the Europa League.
The last time Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Aubameyang all played together, Arsenal demolished Everton at home and Wenger will be hoping they can produce the same quality of City.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi; Aubameyang
Team News and Tactics
Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola will be without few key men going into the Arsenal clash. Fernandinho, a casualty from the Carabao Cup Final, as well as Raheem Sterling, who has missed the last two games for City, will likely be absent for this encounter with Arsenal.
Fabian Delph is also out as he serves the second of his three-match suspension. Benjamin Mendy is City’s long-term absentee with a knee injury suffered at the start of the season. Pep Guardiola, however, has a full-strength squad apart from the players mentioned to contend with against Arsenal.
Guardiola is set to decide to replace Fernandinho in midfield with his options restricted in that area, and Ilkay Gundogan, the most likely player, to play in that position.
City striker, Gabriel Jesus still seems to be out of the squad and hasn’t returned from the knee injury he suffered some time back.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Danilo; D.Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne; B.Silva, Sane, Aguero
- Arsenal have only two wins from their last 11 meetings with Manchester City in the Premier League
- Manchester City have won just once in their previous 20 visits to Arsenal.
- A defeat for Arsenal would make Manchester City the first side since Chelsea in 2006-07 to beat the Gunners three times in the same season.
- Arsenal have only two victories in their last 16-games against top six sides.
- Aguero and Ozil could set goals and assists records in the game with the Argentine on 199 goals and Ozil on 49 assists.
Player To Watch
The powerful Bosnian defender was in the Bundesliga team of the season last year, and his early season form for the Gunners showed promise. Kolasinac started his Gunners’ career on a high, with goals and assists in his game gave Arsenal a new dimension from the left side of the pitch.
However, since November, there has been a massive dip in his form, which prompted Arsene Wenger to re-shuffle his defensive plans. After that period, Kolasinac has seen his place threatened in the squad with Nacho Monreal been preferred in his position as well as Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who briefly played at left-back for Arsenal.
But, the subsequent injury to Monreal and Maitland-Niles suffering from a dip in form could open the door for Kolasinac to reclaim his place in the squad, starting with the City game. A good showing could go a long way for the Bosnian to be reinstated into the starting-XI permanently and win back the trust of Manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal 2- 2 Manchester City
Manchester City have met Arsenal twice this season, scoring three goals each time. Things will be different for City though when they meet Arsenal at the Emirates, as the Gunners’ form at home will be the stumbling block towards a City victory.
Considering Arsenal’s defensive form during this season, expect them to ship in goals as well as concede some, especially against the free-scoring Manchester City. Although, Arsenal’s attackers are much equipped to score on their own, and thus the belief is that this could become a high scoring game with both teams expected to share the spoils.