Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League showdown between Arsenal and Manchester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Manchester By will look to get their 11th Premier League win in a row when they head to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take up the match Arsenal.
The Citizens are currently eight points ahead of Chelsea in second place at the top of the table, while Arsenal occupy fourth place, four points ahead of West Ham United in fifth place.
Arsenal faced plenty of criticism in the initial months of the 2021-22 campaign, but it has been some positive weeks for the Gunners, who have won each of their last five matches in all competitions, including four straight Premier League wins over Southampton, West Ham , Leeds United and Norwich City.
Mikel Artetas team has actually scored 14 times in their last three matches, after beating Sunderland 5-1 in the EFL Cup on December 21 before conceding five goals past Norwich in the league on Boxing Day.
The Gunners had to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league on December 28, but the match had to be postponed due to coronavirus problems at the Wolves camp. Nevertheless, the North London club has still played 19 Premier League matches during the 2021-22 campaign.
A record of 11 wins, two draws and six defeats has given them 35 points, which is enough for a fourth place, four points ahead of West Ham in fifth place, but Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United will also both believe they are solid in the top- 4-race at this stage of the campaign.
There will be no Arteta on the sidelines for this match, where the Spaniard has tested positive for coronavirus and there has reportedly been an outbreak among staff at the club.
Man City will meanwhile take part in this weekend’s competition on the back of a 1-0 win over Brentford on Wednesday night, with Phil Foden scores the only goal in the fight against Thomas Frank‘s page.
The Citizens have now won in each of their last 10 league games, which has seen them rise to the top of the table and collect 50 points from their 20 preliminary games in the 2021-22 campaign.
Pep Guardiolas side are eight points ahead of Chelsea in second place and nine from third place Liverpool, and second place welcomes third place in the league on Sunday so Man City can be even more ready at the summit heading into the next set of top-flight England matches.
The reigning English champions take on Swindon Town in the FA Cup on January 7, before visiting Chelsea in the league on January 15, and there is a danger that they could start running away at the summit.
Man City have won 11 of their last 12 matches against Arsenal in all competitions, including a 5-0 win in the reverse match at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season, while not losing to the Gunners in the Premier League since December 2015.
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all tournaments):
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all tournaments):
Arsenal will again be without services from Sead Kolasinac on Saturday through injury while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still not involved with the first team at the Emirates Stadium.
Calum Chambers, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also looking for positive coronavirus tests, then Ben White could again play at right back for the Gunners.
There could only be one change from the side that started the five-goal success over Norwich last time, with Emile Smith Rowe potentially come in for Gabriel Martinelli, with Alexandre lacazette again expected to lead the row despite being heavily linked with a switch away from the club.
As for Man City, Kyle Walker, Rodri and John Stones were all absent against Brentford due to lack of fitness and it is unclear whether the trio will be considered for selection here.
Nathan Ake impressed at left back against Brentford and could continue in that area of the pitch, but changes are expected from the match against Frank’s side, with Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling all in line to start for the champions.
The foot could play as a false nine for the guests, too Jack Grealish falls out while Gabriel Jesus could also fall down on the bench where Mahrez is likely to return in a wide position.
Arsenal possible starting line-up:
Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Lacazette
Manchester City’s possible starting line-up:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Ake; B Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
We say: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City
Arsenal will feel good about themselves after a strong series of results and we expect it to be a close match at the Emirates Stadium. However, Man City’s record against the Gunners can not be ignored and we back Guardiola’s team to pick up three more points.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they anticipate for this game, and for more of their tried and tested football tips.Away Win: data