Manchester City vs Arsenal: Preview

Read Aariyan Ludhor's preview of Sunday's big game: Manchester City face Arsenal without defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker who both suffered injuries on England duty

Manchester City vs Arsenal: Preview

Destiny awaits at the Etihad on Sunday as Arsenal gear up to face Manchester City. CREDIT: OFFSIDE

Arsenal v Manchester City Preview

It’s the big one.

The most important match of the season.

Manchester City vs Arsenal at the Etihad, on Super Sunday.

The young gunners against the treble winners. Liverpool watching in the corner, praying for a stalemate. Whatever the outcome, this game will completely change the title race.

There’s no need to gloss over how significant this game is.

Everyone knows that the Etihad is without a doubt one of the hardest places to go to, if not the hardest, in the world.

Their home record is formidable. The last time they lost at their ground in all competitions was in 2022.

That means they’ve gone almost a year and half unbeaten at the Etihad, all while facing some of the best teams in the world like Bayern, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and of course Arsenal.

In fact, our recent record against City is really concerning. In the last eighteen times we’ve faced them, we have lost fifteen. What’s even worse is that we haven’t won away to City for almost 10 years. 

From all these areas in favour of City, you would assume that we have no chance. Despite this, our fanbase is hopeful, some even confident, that we can take all three points.

Is our bias and delusion blinding us, or can we really beat this City team?

Personally, I think the answer is yes, we can win this game.

This Arsenal team is different to those that have come to the Etihad before them.

The Gunners have already defeated City twice this season, once in the Premier League and once in the Community Shield.

I think that the mental block we have when we have played City in the past is fading away and we have a genuine shot of doing the league double against them this season.

Should we approach this game with confidence?

Judging by our season so far, there’s no reason not to. Statistically, we have both the best defence and best attack in the league since we have scored the most (70) and conceded the least (24).

Another promising theme with Arsenal this season is that we tend to deliver in the big games this season.

Out of us and our title rivals Man City and Liverpool, we have the best record when facing each other in direct head to head games. We won at the Emirates against both City and Liverpool and also grabbed a point at Anfield.

Of course, we are top of the league.

We can beat anyone on our day. For that reason, we can always be hopeful of winning games, no matter how good the opponents may seem.

Team News

Manchester City are notorious for pulling players out of international breaks for very little. They also don’t usually give away too much information about injuries either. For that reason, we don’t know for certain about who’s available and who’s not. 

Whilst Kyle Walker and John Stones are out according to manager Pep Guardiola, there are some other doubts.

Star man Kevin De Bruyne was left out of the Belgium squad during the break for a groin strain. Defender Manuel Akanji was ruled out of the Swiss game against Ireland. However both Akanji and De Bruyne have trained ahead of the game on Sunday.

From an Arsenal point of view, there are concerns about Gabriel Martinelli, who is still recovering from his foot injury he suffered against Sheffield United. While he could make the squad, he is not expected to start. Also, Gabriel Magalhaes had slight injury concerns after he withdrew from the Brazil National team, alongside Bukayo Saka who withdrew from England. However, both players are expected to start. Jurrien Timber will almost definitely not be available for this game.

Players to watch

As such a ridiculously talented side, there are not just one or two players for City that can cause us problems.

In almost every position they have an outlet that can really damage us if we don’t play up to our standards.

However, in particular, I think Kevin De Bruyne deserves a special mention. The Belgian has picked up a mighty 13 assists in just 14 games, and he always manages to turn up against us.

Also Phil Foden, who is in exceptional form, will be looking for his 12th league goal of the season.

Finally, Rodri, who is one of the most prevalent ‘big game’ players, is so dangerous. From controlling games to scoring clutch goals, he has established himself as one of the best players in the world, and by the time he retires, may go down as one of the greatest to ever play in his position.

To add to that, it’s also worth noting that when he has played, neither City nor his national team Spain have lost for over a year. The man is almost unbeatable.

Predicted XIs:

Manchester City: Ederson, Gvardiol, Dias, Akanji, Ake, Rodri, Foden, Silva, Doku, De Bruyne, Haaland

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Jorginho, Rice, Ødegaard, Trossard, Havertz, Saka

Prediction: This game could genuinely go any way.

Whilst I believe we can win, I don’t think we will because it is too hard to bet against Man City at the Etihad.

Similarly to last season, I think City will play scintillating football at their ground against us and it will just be too much for the Gunners.

I would absolutely love to be proved wrong though.


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