Arsenal face Manchester City after having being battered at Chelsea and held by Swansea at the Emirates. Again, Arsenal have been dealt with injury blows to pivotal figures in the squad. Manchester City will end all hopes of Arsenal’s minuscule title hopes with victory for the second successive season at the Emirates.
Having outclassed Manchester United off the park on Tuesday evening, the title favourites will look to surpass the test of Arsenal, whom have faded away since being top of the league for over half of the season. A 2-0 win over the North London side here at the Emirates last season was their first at Arsenal for 37 years. They also outplayed the Gunners in a 6-3 demolition back in December, a game in which seemed to deficit Arsenal’s title hopes. Prominent players in the cast of David Silva and Yaya Touré have led City in the absence of Sergio Agüero and the misfiring Alvaro Negredo. A season in which Manchester City have seemed to get better with games, after starting off with a woeful away record following defeats at Cardiff and Aston Villa respectively, it hasn’t been too bad for a Manchester City side who have blossomed under the essence of Manuel Pellegrini. A side who have suffered one defeat domestically since the turn of the year, now out of the FA Cup, can focus predominantly on the league with two games in hand over today’s opponent. Can Manchester City conclude Arsène Wenger’s miserable week by demoralising their top four hopes too?
Arsenal have been a side lacking confidence incredibly since a damaging defeat in Arsène Wenger’s 1000th game as Arsenal boss last week at Stamford Bridge. Injuries to Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott have left Arsenal with a hole in depth and the draw against Swansea in midweek proved that even more. This game is the one Arsène Wenger is calling the season definer in his press conference this week. In many aspects his correct, a game which is very much a six-pointer, City can go nine points clear of Arsenal with two games in hand, but Arsenal can go level on points with the Manchester club with victory. A season which saw Arsenal derailed by Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, following the record-signing of Mesut Özil, Arsenal have certainly had the spring in their step having been top for five months. The busy hectic Christmas pile-up threatened to pour cold water over Arsenal but the obtained their strong mentality with wins at West Ham and Newcastle respectively. Having suffered setbacks at Southampton and Stoke respectively they again showed their credentials with victory at Tottenham, but they were crushed by Chelsea in a game which they lacked fight, spirit and desire to play. Being held by Swansea in midweek blew the title away from Arsenal, but they can conjure up something to shock Manchester City?
Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns from Tuesday night but Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal are set to return to full training next week.
Manchester City are without top scorer Sergio Agüero for at least another week with a hamstring problem while David Silva is fit following treatment on his ankle from Tuesday night at old Trafford.
I expect to see two teams who love to play the beautiful game properly, in different ways,I think City will use the pace of Navas to exploit Gibbs’ void left from his wing-back like approach, while Arsenal will pass the ball and look to catch City sleeping. Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City.
Occasional writer who follows the Arsenal home and away. Dennis is our greatest ever.