Arsenal play host to Premier League champions Manchester City in this weekend’s early kick-off. For those who do not have match tickets and would like to attend the match, you can purchase your tickets via – www.LiveFootballTickets.com
This is the second time that the sides have played this season, having met in the Community Shield.
Arsenal host Manchester City in the early kick-off as the new Premier League season enters its fourth week. The Gunners are looking to continue an unbeaten run stretching back to April, when they were beaten 3-0 by a strong Everton side.
Manchester City, however, will be out to set their run of results right once more, having seen their first defeat of the season take place against Stoke just before the international break.
Last five matches (Head-to-head)
Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City (Community Shield, 2014/15)
Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City (Premier League, 2013/14)
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal (Premier League, 2013/14)
Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City (Premier League, 2012/13)
Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal (Premier League, 2012/13)
Games between Arsenal and Manchester City have been fairly mixed over the past five years or so. The past five games has seen Arsenal win just one of their games against the Blues, with City winning two and the two sides drawing the other two games against one another. The previous five games have also seen 18 goals, Arsenal scoring seven and City 11. By comparison, the five matches before between the sides saw just six goals, with three games being settled by a 1-0 scoreline (one by Arsenal, two by Manchester City).
A bonus for Arsenal is that their previous tie against Manchester City, played just last month, ended in a 3-0 victory, with Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud getting the goals. Despite playing against a weakened City side, with the likes of Sergio Agüero, David Silva and Joe Hart left on the bench or out of the squad completely, Arsenal took their chances, unlike their opposition on the day.
Team News (Arsenal)
Arsenal continue to miss long-term absentees – Serge Gnabry and Olivier Giroud. The French striker is expected to return in the new year, though he may have to fight for his first-team place, with a new player possibly running the forward line for the Gunners.
Danny Welbeck signed from Manchester United on deadline day, and his first game for his new side could be against the biggest rivals of the club that he supported and played for as a youngster. Welbeck also scored two goals for England in midweek as they got their European qualifying campaign off to the perfect start.
Theo Walcott is definitely also missing out on Saturday, although the 25-year old winger is expected to make his return against the side who he had suffered his injury against almost nine months ago, as Tottenham make an Emirates return. Two players that will have late fitness tests before the game are midfield duo Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil.
Whilst Özil was injured against Leicester and missed Germany’s two matches, Aaron Ramsey suffered a twisted ankle in the dying moments of Wales’ 2-1 win against Andorra. The Gunners’ record signing returned to Arsenal training on Wednesday, though Ramsey may require further assessment and may need to sit the game out. David Ospina and Mikel Arteta are also in line for a return, with Ospina yet to get any action under his belt for the club. Kieran Gibbs is also back in action.
Team News (Manchester City)
There is a fresh injury concern for Manuel Pellegrini, with Stevan Joveti being a major doubt for the game. Should the Montenegrin miss out, City will be left with just two strikers, having loaned Álvaro Negredo to Valencia on deadline day. Joveti? is already top goalscorer for the Blues this season so far, with two goals, matching Sergio Agüero’s. The injury may come as a blessing in disguise for Edin Džeko, however. Džeko is yet to score a goal for his club this season, playing in just one match. The striker did score for Bosnia in the week, and that goal may give him the confidence that he needs to damage Arsenal on Saturday.
A new signing is also expected to return to the squad, Fernando seemingly recovering well enough from a groin injury that forced him off in the 1-0 defeat against Stoke two weeks ago. Eliaquim Mangala may also be in line to make his long-awaited debut, having been removed from selection to work on getting back to full fitness.
Despite their unbeaten start, the Gunners have looked thoroughly underwhelming, scraping past Besiktas in the Champions League, as well as needing last minute goals to beat Crystal Palace and draw against Everton. Their most recent game ended in a 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Leicester, Alexis Sánchez scoring his second goal in as many games. Certain players have shone, whilst other have been left lagging behind.
Manchester City have had a fairly shaky start to the season. With the 3-0 defeat to the Gunners in the Community Shield, Manuel Pellegrini’s men responded with two wins to start the Premier League season, beating Newcastle 2-0 and putting three past last season’s runners-up Liverpool. The defeat to Stoke ended a mixed bag of results to open the season. City seemed to lack the goalscoring prowess that won them the league and the Capital One Cup last season, with five goals in their opening four games this season compared to eight in their opening three during the 2013-14 season.
Arsène Wenger talked injuries and Danny Welbeck, as well as stepping away from talk about the match to publicly back Arsenal’s fight against discrimination in football.
Wenger on injuries:
“The first news is not bad. He [Aaron Ramsey] will be assessed today and he has a little chance to be available for Saturday. He had an ankle sprain but it’s a minor one that’s for sure. Will it be enough to be available for Saturday? We’ll know today.”
“Arteta and Gibbs are back in the squad and in normal training. Özil had a knock and didn’t play for Germany because he had a sprained ankle. He will be available as well. Walcott will be back to full training by the end of the month.”
Wenger on Welbeck:
“Welbeck is an ideal signing for us because he can play through the middle, which I think is his best position, but as well on the flanks. His qualities are his team attitude and his pace as well. As you could see with England, his goalscoring too. When you analyse his game you think he has the qualities to play through the middle.”
“He was at Man United, where he had many big stars, and he is a player who is very versatile so he had to make room sometimes for players to play through the middle. But if you analyse in an objective way his qualities, I think he has the perfect style to play through the middle.”
“He can make himself a better player here because I can help him. He’s a young boy, he’s not 24 yet and let’s not forget that some players who arrived here at the age of 23 made huge careers here so I hope we can contribute and help him.”
Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta believes that Arsenal will be facing a ‘different’ City side to the side that were beaten 3-0 last month:
“It [Community Shield final] was the first game of the campaign and the squad were not all back from the summer or 100% fit. We are much stronger than we were a month ago and we will continue to improve and get back into our stride as each game goes by.”
“That said, Arsenal are a very good team and it is always a hard game at the Emirates. They have improved their squad and brought in some great players to strengthen their title bid but we are looking to bounce back after the Stoke defeat and we will go there to win three points.”
Edin Džeko is more optimistic about the match, but has also said that Arsenal are one of five teams that can challenge them for their Premier League crown, whilst also discussing his contract extension:
“It will be difficult, but I’m an optimist. As with every season, there are several teams that will battle for the title of champions in England. This season Chelsea might be the most serious challenger, but we mustn’t ignore Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, or United, who will certainly be much stronger than last year. After all, everyone has gotten stronger, and everyone wants to be first.”
“The past season was one of the best in my career, and in the end we reached the title of champions of England, the second in the past three seasons. We succeeded in winning the Capital One Cup and I am really happy how everything played out in the past season, both for the club and for myself.”
“As far as the contract, in general I had no dilemma around an extension. I am happy at City, the manager believes in me, which is certainly important, and I give my all on the pitch and altogether it means quite a lot to me, because City is a club with great ambitions and I easily decided to stay put.”
Possible line-ups and prediction
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny, Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Sanchez, Özil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck.
Manchester City (4-2-2-2): Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernando, Toure, Silva, Nasri, Agüero, Džeko.
Prediction: The game will be a lot tighter than the last that the two sides played out, with City having the majority of their first team available to start.
Danny Welbeck will be looking to impress in a possible Arsenal debut, whilst the Gunners also have a lot of their key players back, namely Mikel Arteta and Kieran Gibbs.
Arsenal can show how much they’ve strengthened from last season and make a real statement in this game, undoubtedly one of the toughest games they’ll have this season. A draw seems like the most viable result for this match.
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