Off the exploits of Europe, after playing Benfica in Rome, Arsenal are set to kick off their next match playing Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a huge clash in the Gunners’ seek for European football.
Hosting table leader will always shake the minds of any team they would face and mostly with their current run of winning 5 straight matches in a row, sure this encounter, many Arsenal fans will expect few excitement from it and considering the fact that the gunners didn’t get their preferred result after playing Benfica in Rome on Thursday, they would have loved to face anyone else but Manchester City 3 days later.
Pep’s team are an untamed beast in the Premier League this season, bulldozing, biting, clawing, and feeding off plenty of teams this season and challenging for another league title, sitting 10 points clear of second place, Manchester United, and a whooping twenty-two points off 10th place Arsenal after securing their 17th win in a row with a 3-1 win at Everton on Tuesday.
To be frank, Arsenal have a woeful record against the Citizens in recent seasons failing to record good records against them since 2015 and only winning 2 out of their 14 meetings both coming from the FA Cup, scoring just 4 goals in their previous 9 meetings, conceding at least 22 goals over the same period.
Back in October, Arsenal lost to a 1-0 defeat but that team is so different now and their level of threat has increased and it looks like they now have a clearer vision and identity, and yes, the exact same can be said of Manchester City who boast of having the best defensive record in the division, whose 49 goals are barely bettered by their Manchester rivals.
Can Arsenal be the team to end City’s unbeaten run, of course, they have the capacity to do so defensively and little improvement in their midfield formation which has firmly helped the back four, but the structure of the team isn’t yet laudable as the frontline hasn’t been impressive like Pep Guardiola’s winning dogs, and leaving a shaky run in the team build-up.
It has been mostly seen that Arsenal’s attackers only get the ball and pass it back to base, and when they try to bite, they do not often look serious to be considered a threat, with only a few players such as Bukayo Saka, carrying the team. The question should arise as to, are the senior players really leading this line the right way, when can we enjoy our winning streak again because having the types of players we now do, one would surely think them enough to create wins at all times, but this hasn’t been thus.
Thomas Partey is still doubtful for Arsenal and may likely be left out of the selection for Sunday, the Ghana midfielder has been struggling with a hamstring injury and isn’t expected to have recovered in time to face the in-form-Manchester city.
Kieran Tierney came off the bench in the Europa League draw against Benfica in Rome after a leg injury and should return to the starting 11.
Ilkay Gundogan the goal-scoring midfielder is still being assessed as the German international hopes to be ready to be part of the team heading to London. He took part in some training sessions on Friday after missing the 3-1 win over Everton in Midweek.
Sergio Aguero could also start in line with the surprise recovery of Kevin De Bruyne after Pep Guardiola confirmed that every member of his squad is fit, although excluding Defender, Nathan Ake.
ARSENAL: Leno, Cedric, Holding, P. Mari, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka, M. Odegaard, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, De-Bruyne, Rodri, Gungogan, Mahrez, Sterling, Foden.
The last time both teams met in the PL Arsenal won a slim 1-0 and proven the growth in the Defense, ill predict a 0-0 draw and an Under 2.5.
Match Preview by Adeyemo Adesola