Arsenal face Man City in the English Premier League on Sunday. Last season’s two title contenders faced off with one point separating the sides. Pep Guardiola has won 12 league matches in a row vs the Gunners and will want to squash any notions of not being title favourites. A key factor could be the suspension for City’s key midfielder, Rodri.
The Gunners were surprisingly beaten 2-1 at Lens in midweek, possibly due to having one eye on this match. They had previously won seven and drawn two of their previous nine matches this season. Both of those dropped points came in 2-2 league draws have held a lead. After a 2-2 home draw with Fulham, they beat Man Utd 3-1 at home, won 1-0 at Everton and thumped PSV 4-0.
A 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham followed after leading twice and running out of steam after half-time. A 1-0 win at Brentford in the Carabao Cup preceded a totally dominant performance to win 4-0 at Bournemouth with 3.43 xG. Their loss to Lens saw them only allow their opponents 33% possession and 0.74 xG.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta is sweating over the fitness of his two first-choice wingers. Gabriel Martinelli has missed the last couple of matches and is unlikely to be fit enough to start this one. Bukayo Saka went off injured in midweek but he should be able to shake off the knock to start.
Gabriel Jesus could play down the left with Eddie Nketiah up front. Another option is to use Leandro Trossard in one of those two roles. Jurrien Timber remains out injured long-term but Thomas Partey has returned to boost midfield options.
The Gunners will be desperate to end their losing streak to Man City in the league. Arteta knows the two defeats to City last year were a huge factor in not winning the league.
Arsenal will look to attack and could play a man-marking game. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result in a direct matchup like this.
Man City Form
City got back to winning ways on Wednesday, scoring two late goals to win 3-1 at RB Leipzig. That was a good response to surprise losses, 1-0 at Newcastle in the Carabao Cup and 2-1 away to Wolves in the league. The latter defeat saw a paltry 0.87 xG produced on an off day.
Before that, City had lifted the Super Cup on penalties to start the season and then won seven matches in a row. They thrashed Fulham 5-1 before battering West Ham 3-1 with 29 shots in an away game. That was followed by a 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade to start the Champions League before a 2-0 home win over Nottingham Forest.
Man City Team News
Pep Guardiola will be missing Rodri for this key clash. Rico Lewis partnered the Spaniard in midfield in midweek but Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes are more likely to be selected. Kevin De Bruyne remains out injured for another three months. Kalvin Phillips is expected to be left on the bench.
Bernardo Silva was back from a knock to play in midweek and he will surely start. Phil Foden may find himself benched or moved to the left wing in preference to Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku. Julian Alvarez will surely get the nod to start after his recent hot form.
Man City Motivation
City are usually extremely motivated for this fixture. We should see a high-tempo game and Guardiola’s side will not settle for a draw in this one.
Recent comments suggest City could focus on plenty of possession and control. They won’t want to open themselves up to Arsenal’s counter-attacking threat.
Arsenal have dropped points in 4 of their last 8 home EPL matches
Arsenal have conceded in 10 of their last 11 home league matches (17 conceded)
Man City have won 12 straight EPL matches vs Arsenal
City have lost 2 of their last 3 away league matches
Man City’s Erling Haaland has gone 3 matches without scoring
This match is always won by Man City. However, this will be a test of their midfield without Rodri, De Bruyne, and the departed Gundogan. Arsenal have a great chance to end their hoodoo vs Guardiola in this match.