Arsenal face Manchester City on Monday night in a must win game, with a point to prove that their recent resurrection is not just for lesser teams after 3 back to back wins.
Arsenal on the back of taking just one point out of three Premier League games in November and losing Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla to injuries, have bounced back with wins over Sunderland, Olympiakos and Aston Villa, scoring 8 goals and conceding just 1 in the process, while critics would argue that these teams are teams Arsenal should be beating any day, recent results around the Premier League proves that no team can be beaten anytime any day, consequently the two league wins have been morale boosting, then the almighty trip to Piraceus which proved that the gunners can perform on the big stage and most importantly, cross the line when there is a lot at stake, something they hadn’t done against Monaco at the Emirates, Bayern in the Allianz the previous year, or Milan in San Siro before that.
Bringing all this together, the gunners have gathered some serious momentum and confidence coming into this tie, making them favorites in what otherwise would have been a giant killing task for them owing to their injury ridden squad.
Talking about injuries, the highlight of this game would be the possible return of the most potent attacking threats in both teams, with Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero having slight chances of returning.
Another talking point for Arsenal would be whether Olivier Giroud will continue his scoring run on Monday night. The Frenchman had before the season been belittled by his compatriot Thierry Henry, with the Arsenal legend saying that Giroud cannot lead Arsenal to the title, and had later lost his place in the starting line up to Theo Walcott. But an injury to Theo Walcott got him reinstated in the starting lineup and since then Giroud has been a man on a mission, chipping in vital goals when needed, and with 5 goals in his last 3 games including a Hat-trick in the all-important game against Olympiakos, he is now one to watch out for, and Manchester City’s defence will do well to be wary of the big Frenchman.
Speaking of Defence, Manchester City will be missingCaptain Vincent Kompany, and the stats this season shows that he would have been vital if they are to stop the onslaught of Giroud, Ozil and Ramsey. The Citizens haven’t recorded a clean sheet in any of the 15 games their captain hasn’t played in this season, as against recording 7 clean sheets in the 9 he has played.
Other players who will be looked at for various reasons are Joel Campbell (who will be expected to prove he can hold his own against the big guns) Aaron Ramsey (who will be expected to prove that Santi Cazorla won’t be missed against a big team) and Wilfred Bony (who if Aguero doesn’t play would be looked upon to prove his worth against a big team in Aguero’s absence)
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 18 home games against City, but have won just one of their last six, drawing four and losing one.
City have lost 22 games against Arsenal, their joint-most defeats against any opponent (along with Chelsea
Mesut Ozil has had a hand in 15 goals in 15 league appearances this season, scoring two and assisting 13.
There have been 5 red cards in the last 5 meetings between this two teams
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