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Premier League

  • April 8, 2012
  • • 16:00
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 60096
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Arsenal - Manchester City Preview: Gunners could get seventh win in eight matches with Mancini's side struggling away from home

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


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

Szczesny
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Arteta, Song, Rosicky
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

MANCHESTER CITY


Hart
Zabaleta, K Toure, Kompany, Kolarov
Barry, Y Toure
Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli
Dzeko

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.
  • 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).

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
23Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
28Kieran GibbsDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
25Alex SongMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
11Andre SantosDefender
5Johan DjourouDefender
25Carl Jenkinson Defender
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
4Vincent KompanyDefender
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
6Joleon LescottDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
18Gareth BarryMidfielder
8Samir NasriMidfielder
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
16Sergio AgüeroStriker
45Mario BalotelliStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
2Micah RichardsDefender
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
7David PizarroMidfielder
34Nigel De JongMidfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
10Carlos TévezStriker
Players to Watch
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 1 0
Seemingly, he is the obvious choice, however Robin van Persie has not scored in three games and that familiar taste for goals he had all through 2011 has dried up somewhat. But his performance at Liverpool on March 3 showed just how pivotal he can be up against teams playing fine football, and Arsenal could very well be facing such a situation against a team with the title to play for and everything to lose. 
Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 1 0
The Belgium international was poor last weekend and Mancini will have worked at restoring the confident centre-back partnership he has the potential to have with former Gunner Kolo Toure. When in form, Vincent Kompany is a dominant defender and is without a doubt Manchester City’s best chance of keeping Robin van Persie quiet.                                             
Prediction
Both teams head into this match on a bum note, and to get their fans in good song once more a win is required. Failure by Arsenal could mean Tottenham get the upper hand in the third place battle, while failure for Manchester City could effectively end their title challenge with six games still remaining. A pivotal match then and one I can see Roberto Mancini’s men stealing.
Editor's Prediction

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