Arsenal Vs. Manchester City
Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday 13th September 2014 – 12:45pm,
An exciting return to club football after a drab international break sees the English Premier League Champions come up against Arsene Wenger’s aspiring glass ceiling-breakers.
Arsene Wenger must have wished he “didn’t see it” as Aaron Ramsey left the field injured on international duty for Wales last week. Should he be ruled out, the midfield talisman will be a big loss for the Gunners, having scored 2 goals in 3 games this season so far. The Welshman’s fitness for this titanic clash is on a knife edge and – with his injury record – I don’t think Wenger will want to risk losing a key player for Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund. Similarly, Laurent Koscielny had to pull out of the France squad due to an ongoing achilles problem, and he is unlikely to feature as Wenger does not want to risk a centre-half crisis. The good news for Arsenal supporters is that Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta look set to feature after injuries.
Of course, the big talking point is the probable involvement of £16m deadline-day signing Danny Welbeck. After a confidence boosting double against Switzerland, will the 23 year-old be able to lead the line, or will he play in a deeper, more secondary role that became the norm at Manchester United. Well, Arsenal’s lack of striker options seems to indicate that Welbeck will serve his desired purpose – as the centre forward and focal point of attack.
We can expect Arteta to play the typical housekeeping role, making sure all is covered at the back while starting ventures forward. Expect to see Jack Wilshere battle in the midfield (get the money on a booking for him), playing a more mobile role than Arteta. Cazorla will play a fluid, roaming game with Ozil and Sanchez, and those three amigos will aim to exploit the space left by Man City’s advanced full backs. Welbeck will play through the middle as a striker, aiming to receive the ball from the three creative players behind him.
Manchester City will be hoping to get back to winning ways after a surprising 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke in their last EPL outing. They are without £12m signing Fernando, so his near-namesake Fernandinho will partner Yaya Toure in the centre of midfield. Stefan Jovetic will also miss out, paving the way for Edin Dzeko to partner Sergio Aguero up front. Bacary Sagna comes up against his old team in this matchday 4 fixture.
Frank Lampard and £32m defensive prodigy Eliaquim Mangala are both in line to start on the bench, so a couple of debuts could be on the cards too. City look strong in all areas, and Sergio Aguero will be key to any success in this match, with 8 goals in his last 10 EPL outings.
Will Danny Welbeck prove to be the answer to Arsenal’s attacker crisis? And is a game against the champions a fair start to judge him on? Arsenal’s performance hinges particularly on the performance of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta as they battle Manchester City’s powerful midfield, playing both a destructive and constructive game. It will be an interesting battle against the combined guile and power of Fernandinho and Toure, and it is fair to say that this match will be won and lost in the middle of the park.
What The Bookies Say
Arsenal 2/1Man City 6/5 Draw 12/5(Bet 365)
90 Minute Cynic Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City