It’s finally here. Arsenal vs Manchester City is the biggest game of the season so far. 3 points is the only thing that separates the two and if Man City take the full prize on the day, they’ll end the day in the top spot following a superior goal difference.
Arsenal have been experiencing a bit of a blip in their form in a really bad time period for them. Hectic schedule could have been the opportunity to prolong their lead but they found themselves in an all to play for scenario with a Manchester City side who’ve shown they know how to comeback in title races over the years.
Still, this City team is not quite at the level of previous years and is far from perfect. There’s a lot at stake here as any won points could mean the world for either side. The points aren’t the only thing in play here though. By winning a game of this magnitude, the teams could inject some much needed forward momentum into their seasons once again.
Arsenal young core would prove to themselves they have all it takes to go all the way while Manchester City would find encouragement that they’re still their old selves.
Man City’s form (all competitions): W L W W W.
Arsenal’s form (all competitions): D L L W W.
When & Where?
DATE: Wednesday, 15th of February.
TIME: 7.30 pm GMT.
VENUE: Emirates Stadium, London.
For the host, Mohamed Elneny is out for the season while the trio of Emile Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Jesus are slowly but surely making their way back into contention. Jesus isn’t taking place in first-team training just yet but he isn’t far away.
On the other hand, Man City have John Stones missing out with a hamstring injury while Erling Haaland is currently being assessed. He was replaced at halftime last time out against Aston Villa but the injury severity is unknown.
Arsenal will most likely keep their same shape and eleven while Pep might tinker around a bit more with his formation after deploying Bernardo Silva in a very deep position last time out against Aston Villa in a Zinchenko like role. I don’t see the regular inverted FB scheme Joao Cancelo did so well before as much anymore. Rico Lewis has played more as a CM in a double pivot next to Rodri this season than your classic inverted FB so it’s a bit unjust to call him just that.
It’s going to be interesting to see who Guardiola will start there come Wednesday but my guess is on Bernardo. Ake did superbly in the FA Cup versus Arsenal a few weeks ago and he might just get another start considering how hard to contain Bukayo Saka is.
On the other side, I don’t expect much to be changed. Leandro Trossard might play his way into the eleven over Gabriel Martinelli based on form but with Manchester City leaving a lot of room on the counters, starting Martinelli makes more sense. Other than that, Takehiro Tomiyasu could be in contention to start over Ben White considering Arsenal’s schedule but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Mahrez has been in stunning form since the World Cup break, amassing a total of 11 goals and assists combined in all competitions. Pep has shown he trusts him on the right and he’s made the spot his own now.
Zinchenko will have to be on his toes all game long and he’ll have to be wary of him whenever he goes on his midfield adventures as any lost ball would leave Gabriel isolated on the counter. Martinelli will likely help doubling him up when needed.
Saka has been Arsenal’s key player this season and his form has been consistent all season long. He’s irreplaceable for this team and stands just 3 assists short of De Bruyne in the league, on 8.
He makes things happen out of nothing and he’s taken a lot on his shoulders with Jesus being out. The maturity he displays in his game at just 21 is incredible.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte; Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish; Haaland.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs City: Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Saliba, Gabriel, White; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka.