Arsenal - Manchester City Preview: Mancini's men aim to stay on United's trail
The visitors need all three points to stay in the title race while the Gunners will hope for a home win to keep alive their hopes of Champions League qualification
By Husmukh Kerai
Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany, Clichy
Silva, Tevez, Milner
Olivier Giroud (knee) faces a late fitness test ahead of the match after picking up a knock against Swansea last time out, while Abou Diaby came through an hour for the reserves unscathed but is unlikely to be risked against Manchester City.
Lukas Fabianski (ankle) is two to three weeks away from resuming full training.
Roberto Mancini takes his side to the Emirates Stadium with a number of key players missing. Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure have both joined up with the Ivory Coast national squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sergio Aguero (hamstring) has been ruled out while former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri is still serving a suspension after his red card against Norwich.
Aleksander Kolarov (groin), Maicon (knee), Micah Richards (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are all long-term absentees.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have missed their last three penalties taken against Manchester City.
- Theo Walcott (pictured) is statistically the Gunners' most productive player so far this season with 15 goals and 6 assists in all competitions.
- The last player to score in the Premier League for Manchester City at Arsenal was Demarcus Beasley, way back in the 2006-07 season.
- There have been four dismissals in the last five Premier League meetings between to the two sides, with Mario Balotelli seeing red in City's last visit to the Emirates.
- Manchester City have allowed the opposition just 56 shots on target against them this season, the fewest in the Premier League.
- Despite the attacking talent on display, there have been just five goals in the last six meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and City at the Emirates Stadium.
- City have conceded a higher proportion of goals from outside the box than any other team in the Premier League. They are 14/1 to win 2-0 with bet365.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City FC
- 18.32 %
Arsenal 3-1 Manchester City FC
- 8.93 %
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City FC
- 7.28 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 14, 2013||Manchester City FC 6 - Arsenal 3|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 10, 2013||Arsenal 3 - Manchester City FC 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 13, 2013||Arsenal 0 - Manchester City FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 23, 2012||Manchester City FC 1 - Arsenal 1|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Jul 27, 2012||Arsenal 0 - Manchester City FC 2|
|Mar 8, 2014||Arsenal 4 - Everton 1||FA|
|Mar 1, 2014||Stoke 1 - Arsenal 0||EPL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Arsenal 4 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|Feb 19, 2014||Arsenal 0 - FC Bayern München 2||UCL|
|Feb 16, 2014||Arsenal 2 - Liverpool 1||FA|
The 23-year-old has finally agreed a new deal at the Emirates Stadium, and with Olivier Giroud a doubt for the match, Arsenal will rely on the newly liberated central striker to provide the goals against the champions. Defenders don't come much tougher than Vincent Kompany, a quality performance from the Englishman on Sunday will convince any doubters that he is cut out for a role down the middle.
Manchester City were without the influential Yaya Toure when they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates last season. The midfield trio that day of Gareth Barry, James Milner and Nigel de Jong were left chasing shadows and the defending champions could fall victim to the same fate on Sunday. Javi Garcia, yet to really impress in a City shirt, will carry the responsibility of breaking down Arsenal's attacks before Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere can get them going.
Roberto Mancini has twice taken his Manchester City side to the Emirates in the Premier League, and both times he has employed a cautious approach, with the impetus on stopping Arsenal. His side could go into Sunday's game potentially trailing United by 10 points so he will be forced to play on the front foot. Arsenal have been hit and miss this season but have produced inspired displays against some of the league's better sides. Expect plenty of goals, but Arsenal just might edge this encounter with City missing Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.