Manchester City Vs Arsenal 11 Things You Need To Know As The Gunners Travel To The Etihad
Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Sunday, knowing defeat could leave them cut adrift of the top four.
City, on the other hand, dropped points at Goodison Park last weekend, and know they must keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea.
It has all the ingredients to be a cracker.
Alexis Sanchez is earning more and more plaudits as the weeks go by, and the talismanic figure of Sergio Aguero could return to the starting lineup for the hosts.
Here are MirrorFootball”s 11 things you need to know ahead of a mouth-watering clash of the titans…
1. When is the match and where can I see it?
The game kicks off at 4pm on Sunday, and is the second half of Sky Sports” Super Sunday offering.
MirrorFootball will be running a LIVE blog so you can keep up with proceedings if you are unable to watch the game live.
2. Team news
Manchester City: City will be without Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony, who are both away representing the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.
GettyMissing: City will be without their midfield powerhouse
However, they are likely to be boosted by the return of Argentine hotshot Sergio Aguero, who made his comeback from injury off the bench against Everton last weekend.
Arsenal: Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out for three months with a dislocated shoulder suffered in last weekend”s 3-0 victory over Stoke.
Danny Welbeck will remain on the sidelines, with Arsene Wenger admitting the Gunners must be “patient” with the England forward, but Kieran Gibbs could return to the squad.
3. Predicted sides
4. Reasons for Manchester City fans to be optimistic
Despite only drawing with Everton last weekend, Manuel Pellegrini”s men are on a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
They have netted 14 goals in their last six games, ominously all without Sergio Aguero.
They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games against Arsenal, hitting six at the Etihad last season.
5. Reasons for Arsenal fans to be optimistic:
Quite simply, Alexis Sanchez. Another two goals for the Chilean last weekend, and he looks borderline unstoppable.
They have bounced back well since losing to Southampton on New Year”s Day, with two clean sheets and five goals at the other end.
Only a late equaliser stopped them from toppling City at the Emirates in September, and they comfortably swept the Champions aside in the Community Shield at the start of the season.
6. Previous encounters
13 September 2014: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
In pictures: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
10 August 2014: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City (Community Shield)
29 March 2014: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City
14 December 2013: Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal
13 January 2013: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
7. Recent form
Manchester City – Last 5 games:
10 January 2015: Everton 1-1 Manchester City
4 January 2015: Manchester City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup)
1 January 2015: Manchester City 3-2 Sunderland
28 December 2014: Manchester City 2-2 Burnley
26 December 2014: West Brom 1-3 Manchester City
Arsenal – Last 5 games:
11 January 2015: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke
In pictures: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke
4 January 2015: Arsenal 2-0 Hull (FA Cup)
1 January 2015: Southampton 2-0 Arsenal
28 December 2014: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
26 December 2014: Arsenal 2-1 QPR
8. Manchester City’s key man
City will likely bring Sergio Aguero back into the lineup, and he will resume his position as their focal point in attack.
GettyTalisman: Aguero will be hoping for a start at the Etihad
The Argentine has 14 Premier League goals this season, despite only appearing in 16 games, and will be relied upon against the Gunners, particularly with Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony unavailable.
Aguero has cemented his status among the world”s best marksmen, with five Champions League goals to go alongside his domestic strikes this campaign.
He is closing in on a century of goals for the blue half of Manchester, and had seven strikes in five games before picking up a knee ligament injury against Everton on 6 December.
He set the ball rolling in the 6-3 demolition job of the Gunners last season, and will be their biggest concern again this weekend.
9. Arsenal”s key man
No prizes for guessing this one. Just where would Arsenal be without Alexis Sanchez?
REUTERUnstoppable: Sanchez has been in imperious form
The Chilean added to his enhancing reputation with another two strikes against Stoke last Sunday, taking his season total to 18 in all competitions.
He has four in his last five appearances, and has already shown City what he is capable of this season, side-footing a well-taken volley past Joe Hart in the reverse fixture in September.
Thierry Henry said this week that Sanchez is the Gunners” best signing for six years, and you won”t find many people disagreeing.
If Arsene Wenger”s side are to take anything from the Etihad this weekend, you feel they will need their star attraction to lead the way.
10. Betting odds
PaddyPower have City as marginal odds-on favourites, a 4/5 shot to take all three points. Arsenal are available at 7/2, with the draw 27/10 if you fancy a stalemate.
Sergio Aguero is the favourite to open the scoring at 7/2, with Alexis Sanchez priced up at 13/2 if you fancy a Gunners player to notch first.
11. Quotes corner
Fernandinho on Manchester City”s title challenge: "We now have Arsenal and Chelsea coming up, but this is the Premier League.
Alex LiveseyVital: Fernandinho has placed extra importance on this weekend”s clash
"You have to play against tough teams and you can”t choose when. But we”re a big team too. If you want to fight for the title, you have to play to win these games.
"We need to keep our heads up, because the next two games can decide if we will continue fighting for this title. They are two difficult games – two great teams. We”ll see who is in command after these two games. But it can help to win the title."
Thierry Henry on Alexis Sanchez: “He’s the best signing in the last six years. Arsenal were looking for a player that can deliver on a daily basis — and they have found one.
“He is brilliant, so is his work-rate. He can see the game incredibly as you saw with his part in the Koscielny goal against Stoke on Sunday.
“He scores and doesn’t need a lot of opportunities to put the ball in back of the net."
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