The title race will not be decided at the Emirates Stadium but it will play a significant role in the eventual outcome, while Van Persie will want to return to goalscoring form
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Arteta, Song, Rosicky
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho
Zabaleta, K Toure, Kompany, Kolarov
Barry, Y Toure
Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli
Sergio Aguero (ankle) believes that he will be fit enough to be at Roberto Mancini’s disposal on Sunday. Joleon Lescott (groin) has recovered from his spell on the sidelines but it would be surprising to see him thrust back into the Manchester City mix for such an important clash.
Micah Richards (head) was forced off at half-time in City's 3-3 draw with Sunderland last weekend and he could be replaced by Pablo Zabaleta at right-back. Samir Nasri (fatigue) is a likely candidate for a starting role against his former club having missed the last match.Arsenal have a mostly-full-strength squad to choose from ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash, with their injury list gradually shortening as the climax to the campaign approaches. Jack Wilshere (ankle) remains sidelined, as do fellow midfielders Emmanuel Frimpong (knee), Abou Diaby (hamstring) and Francis Coquelin (hamstring). Defender Per Mertesacker (ankle) will also not feature at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal won six successive games before their 2-1 defeat to QPR last weekend, including victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.
- Manchester City have been poor away from home for a few months now - only five of their last 36 Premier League goals came away from the Etihad Stadium.
- Both matches between these Champions League-chasing teams this campaign have ended 1-0 to Roberto Mancini’s men.
- The Blues have lost all four matches this season when Mario Balotelli (pictured right) and Edin Dzeko have featured in the same starting line-up.
- Although City beat the Gunners in the League Cup at the Emirates Stadium in November, the last time that the club conquered them in the league at Arsenal was October 4 1975.
- Balotelli has scored a goal every 94 minutes this season, the best rate in the Premier League for all players who have played at least 1000 minutes. Mario Balotelli is 7/1 with Bet365 to score two or more goals in this game.
- Theo Walcott gets some stick from Arsenal fans, but the winger has scored or assisted 15 goals in the top flight since the 2011-12 campaign began. Wayne Rooney is the only Englishman with a better record.
- If Manchester City win this weekend then they will close the gap on top-of-the-table Manchester United. The gap in points will depend on the result in Manchester United’s match with QPR, which takes place before the Arsenal-City clash. The current gap is five points.
- Aleksandar Kolarov made 16 crosses in open play last weekend - on only one occasion has a player made more in an English top flight fixture this campaign (Wolves winger Matt Jarvis produced 17 versus Newcastle last October).