The Premier League returns with a bumper clash between: Manchester City and Arsenal Football Club.
Arsenal takes the Partey to the Etihad Stadium in another battle between the Master and the Apprentice. Pep’s men humbled Arsenal in the first game post-Covid era 3-0. However, the apprentice repaid the gesture in a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final thriller at Wembley, hence the 1-1 scoreline between the mater and the apprentice.
City won their first match of the season defeating Wolves but has failed to win the last two matches picking up just one point against a hard-fighting Leeds United and losing at home to Leicester City.
Arsenal on the other hand have won all but one of their four premier leagues matches this season, losing only to Liverpool at Anfield. Arsenal’s ambition for this season seems not in doubt, only they can keep the momentum.
The absence of any known striker for City has been their biggest headache this season, while the team continues to create chances, its scoring rate has dramatically reduced. Pep also struggles to find the perfect combination for its defence, with Dias and Ake joining the fray.
Arteta on the other hand seems to be a bit certain as to who his starters are, although there is also a room for Mikel rotating his team. With new signing Gabriel voted as Arsenal player of the month, it is no gainsaying that the Brazillian is finding life comfortable at the Emirates already. Arteta has a reputation for rotating his team, while some players seem to be for all purposes, others may be rotated as the game demands. Elneny seems to be getting the nod against the big teams, however with Partey in the mix, it is in doubt if the story will remain the same.
The Apprentice visits the Master
With Kelvin Debruyne out and Aguero returning to training, it looks likely Bernado Silva and Foden might be the creative partnership in the midfield while Mahrez maintains his position on the right flank. Recall that Sterling withdrew from the England squad due to a hamstring injury, but Pep has touted him to start following a press declaration that only Debruyne is the only player not fit for a start against the Gunners.
Arsenal on the other hand has a clean bill of health, with no other player injured save for Mari and Martinelli who haven’t been available since the beginning of the season. Partey is however unsure of a start.
Do not be surprised if Arsenal starts with a 4-3-3.
on the positives of beating Sheffield United ahead of facing Man City...
I think it will be a completely different game. City’s approach when they play us will be very different to [Sheffield United’s], very different demands for what we have to do with and without the ball as well. I am really happy with the way we managed to win the game and how patient we were, and the improvements compared with last year against this type of opposition but again, we know the level of difficulty at Manchester City will be another level.
~ Mikel Arteta
Predicted Starting line up
Arsenal hasn’t had a good time at Etihad in recent years, having failed to win in 5 years, the last winning coming in 2015, however, the clash on Saturday might be different in shape and attitude. Arsenal best opportunity to win since the post-Wenger period.
Elderson, Walker, Dias, Larporte, Mendy, Rodrigo, Foden, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero.
Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Our Prediction: Arsenal to win 1-3
Match Preview by Yomi Babalola