Premier League Preview: Arsenal - Manchester City
The title race will not be decided at the Emirates Stadium but it will play a significant role in the eventual outcome, with Van Persie wanting to return to goalscoring form.
By Miles Chambers
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 halftime 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 has a mostly-full-strength squad to choose from ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash, with its 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 its 2-1 defeat to QPR last weekend, including victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.
- Manchester City has been poor away from home for a few months now - only five of its 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 lineup.
- 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 Oct. 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.
- 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 wins this weekend then it 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 margin 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).
Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City
- 19.8 %
Arsenal 3-1 Manchester City
- 17.12 %
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City
- 8.64 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Dec 14, 2013||Manchester City 6 - Arsenal 3|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||Aug 10, 2013||Arsenal 3 - Manchester City 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Jan 13, 2013||Arsenal 0 - Manchester City 2|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Sep 23, 2012||Manchester City 1 - Arsenal 1|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||Jul 27, 2012||Arsenal 0 - Manchester City 2|
|Dec 14, 2013||Manchester City 6 - Arsenal 3||EPL|
|Dec 11, 2013||Napoli 2 - Arsenal 0||UCL|
|Dec 8, 2013||Arsenal 1 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Hull 0||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Cardiff City 0 - Arsenal 3||EPL|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|