After Tuesday’s devastating loss to Everton, Arsenal will aim to bounce back and only a win at 4th placed Manchester City will do. Manchester City on their part will be looking forward to this game with the sole purpose of making a statement. Although they did win their last game against Watford, the losses to Chelsea and Leicester City has left people asking whether they can go all the way.

Team News

Shkodran Mustafi and Araron Ramsey (both out due to hamstring injury) will miss the game. Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker are still out. Other than these, there are no fresh injury concerns for Arsenal.

City will be without the suspended Fernandinho and Aguero. Ilkay Gundogan is out of the game after suffering knee ligament damage in the win against Watford.  Vincent Kompany is still out with a knee injury while midfielder Fabian Delph is not yet back to full match fitness after a groin operation.

Match Stats

  • The last six Premier League meetings between these two sides have produced 24 goals – four per game, on average.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six games with Manchester City in all competitions (W3 D3 L0).
  • Olivier Giroud has scored in four successive appearances against Manchester City in all competitions.
  • Manchester City have been given eight red cards in the Premier League against Arsenal; more than they have against any other opponent.
  • Arsene Wenger has won just two of his previous eight competitive meetings with Pep Guardiola (W2 D2 L4), all in the Champions League. Away from home, his record versus the Spaniard is W0 D1 L3.
  • Only Chelsea (7) have won more Premier League games away at the Etihad than Arsenal (6).
  • The Gunners haven’t lost consecutive Premier League away games since April 2014 (0-6 vs Chelsea, 0-3 vs Everton).
  • Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Watford on Wednesday was their first win in five league games at home (D3, L1).
  • It was also the first time they had scored more than one goal during that run.
  • City have not been lower than third in the table on Christmas Day since 2009-10, when they were sixth.
  • They could keep consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since March 2016,
  • Kevin De Bruyne has provided a league-high eight assists this season. However, he has failed to score in his last 10 league appearances, his longest goal drought in the Premier League.
  • Arsenal’s defeat by Everton on Tuesday was their first in the league since the opening day of the season.
  • Petr Cech has failed to keep a clean sheet in his last seven Premier League appearances; he has never gone eight successive games without a clean sheet in the competition.
  • Arsenal are the only Premier League side not to be losing at half-time in the Premier League this season (winning seven times, drawing nine times).
  • Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in 27 goals in his last 27 Premier League appearances for Arsenal (19 goals, 8 assists).
  • Sanchez has scored 41 goals in 81 Premier League appearances for Arsenal. The only players to reach 41 goals quicker for the club in the competition were Thierry Henry (74 apps) and Ian Wright (77 apps).

(Stats Courtesy: Statszone and BBC)

Expected Line-Ups for Both Team

Arsenal were a bit passive in the game against Everton. The team basically went to sleep after the first goal and they could only blame themselves for the loss. I honestly believe both goals conceded are avoidable. That said, I don’t expect much to change in the starting eleven for tomorrow’s game.

Petr Cech should remain in goal even though it looked like ages since he last kept a clean sheet. Gabriel wasn’t convincing in the game against Everton, but I still expect him to retain his position in the team. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott looked like they didn’t were forced to play on Tuesday and that didn’t help us going forward or defensively. I think Alex Iwobi should start ahead of The Ox tomorrow with the latter coming on later in the second half.

John Stones was on the bench for the game against Watford. I don’t think the Arsenal game is the best time for him to return to the team, even though I wouldn’t mind that. Will the CB pairing of Otamendi and Kolarov be able to cope with the trickery of Sanchez and Ozil? Time will tell.

I expect Yaya Toure and Fernando to continue their partnership in the middle of the pack. David Silva should maintain his free role in the team. Iheanacho wasn’t given a run-in in the game against Watford, so I expect him to start tomorrow.

Prediction

I think the game will be won from the midfield. The team that could extert the most authority from the midfield will carry the day. So, no pressure on Ozil and De Bruyne then.

This game is hard to call. Both teams want to make a statement. City’s defence is vulnerable and in the absence of Mustafi, Arsenal also look shaky. Both teams will score, but I think Arsenal will just edge it. 2 – 1 to The Gunners.

 

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