Building for 2017/18 starts with Arsenal beating City
Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester City - Premier League - 02.04.2017
The international break is over and all Arsenal fans are delighted to have domestic football back in their lives again... Or are they!?
In the past several weeks it would be fair to suggest it’s been a tough time to follow The Gunners. On and off pitch turmoil has been met with both anger and frustration causing yet more infighting within the fan base. You cannot log in to any form of social media currently without seeing a ‘Wenger In’ or ‘Wenger Out’ debate raging... Often out of control I might add. Putting all that aside, welcoming Pep’s Man City may not be the ideal choice of opponent for most, I however beg to differ.
The Spaniard’s arrival at The Etihad Stadium was largely acclaimed by the media and fans alike as a master stroke, a changing of the game in the Premier League and a truly marquee manager to lift The Citizens to the next level. However, in my view, more questions than answers have been raised under the Pep regime, questions Arsenal look to ask on Sunday.
Whilst the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling can pose serious threat from an attacking sense, it is City’s defence that offers me most encouragement from an Arsenal perspective. We know the likes of Clichy and Sagna are players who can be got at with pace and a central defence offering Alex Kolarov, Otamendi or Fernandinho doesn’t exactly scream clean sheet and despite Willy Caballero being in decent form since replacing the hapless Claudio Bravo he too is a player I feel can be exploited.
The biggest problem Arsenal could face in this game is ironically themselves! With confidence as low as can be post the 3-1 defeat at the hands of West Brom a fortnight ago, under fire manager Arsène Wenger will hope his players have returned from the international break with a renewed sense of urgency to put right what has been going wrong on the pitch for too long in 2017.
With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil back to full fitness and the former looking as sharp as ever for Chile a few days ago the pair are surely the keys to victory for the home side, I for one hope to see, power, pace and most importantly 4-3-3 deployed for this game. The best form of defence in this case is very much attack! We simply cannot sit back and allow or invite pressure, if so I can only see one result. However getting both full backs Bellerin and Monreal in to advanced areas with the support of a fluid midfield of Xhaka/Coquelin, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain could see us pick off the previously mentioned vulnerable City backline.
Make no mistake this game represents a tough task for Wenger’s charges and at this stage of the season anything less than a win will leave the top 4 as distant an achievement as you could find, but a solid and attacking performance just could see the fans unite behind the team again even if the manager remains a strong talking point.
So, let’s hope for a performance come Sunday, a performance to make a statement and more importantly a performance to kick start the crucial winning run required to make this end part of the season a successful platform with which to build on ahead of surely the biggest summer in recent memory under Arsène Wenger’s reign. COYG!
LAST 3 Meetings
- Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal (18.12.2016)
- Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal (08.05.2016)
- Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City (21.12.2015)
- Despite recent form Arsenal have won 6 of their last 7 games at home.
- Man City have scored 2 goals or more in 8 of their last 10 away League games.
- Arsenal have managed 52 wins from the 85 meeting with City at home.
- City average 2.08 PPG when skipper Vincent Kompany plays, without him it's just 1.14.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their 19 previous Premier League home matches against Manchester City (W12, D6).
- City are looking to do a league double over Arsenal for the first time since 1975-76.
- The last seven league meetings have produced 27 goals - an average of 3.86 per game.
- The Gunners have lost four of their last five Premier League games for the first time since April 1995.
- However, they have won six of their last seven home matches.
- This is only the second time in Premier League history that Arsenal have been outside the top five in April. The other was in 2006.
- Arsenal have taken only five points out of a possible 24 in matches against teams currently in the top seven.
- Alexis Sanchez has been involved in an unrivalled 27 Premier League goals this season, scoring 18 and providing nine assists.
- City have gone seven league games without defeat, their longest streak under Pep Guardiola (W4, D3).
- Manchester City have won their last three away games without conceding - they have only managed four in a row on one occasion, in the old Division Two in 1903.
- Guardiola has suffered five league defeats as Manchester City boss this season - he's never lost six in a single league campaign as a manager.
- The Blues have won just four of their last 15 Premier League matches played on a Sunday (W4, D6, L5).
- City have conceded a league-low six goals from set pieces this season.
Cazorla is still out. Cech and Perez miss out whilst Alexis, Özil and Gibbs have been passed fit.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey, Özil; Alexis, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck
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