Saturday sees Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium as they take on Manchester City in the headline game of the weekend. Arsenal are on a positive run, hammering Southampton 6-1 last week and winning their Champions League opener in Montpellier; while the hosts are level on points with the Gunners but suffered heartbreak in Madrid as they lost their clash with Real Madrid in the dying minutes.
Manchester City are in a relative slump of form, last week’s trip to Stoke only bore a draw after City’s forwards struggled to break through the Potters’ defence in the hostile environment of the Brittania Stadium.
Mancini’s men then faced a very tough test as they travelled to the Bernabeu in midweek only to lose 3-2 to a flurry of late goals. They will look to recover and put a few things right against Arsenal as they try to get their Premier League title defence campaign off the ground.
Arsenal on the other hand are on a great run of results, their new signings are really starting to gel and attractive football is being played once again. The Gunners went a long way to answering the question of who will replace RVP in their 6-1 demolition of Southampton which showed some uncharacteristic opportunism and efficiency.
Their trip to Montpellier proved to be far from an easy ride, but after falling behind to a 9th minute penalty Arsenal showed spirit to get ahead by half time and endured a barrage of Montpellier attacks to put 3 points on the board in the Champions League group stage. Arsenal will be hoping to get another 3 points against City as they face the first serious test of their title-winning credentials.
The game will be a great indicator of how far Arsenal have progressed as title challengers and a true test of Manchester City’s resolve as they try to prove their dip in form to be a minor blip. A win for City will fill them with confidence going into their next games and could be the kick-start for them in what has been a staggered start. 3 points for Arsenal would mean that they’d have beaten the Champions at their own ground and would surely give them all the belief needed that they can win the league.
Manchester City Team News:
Sergio Aguero is poised to make his first appearance since the opening match after overcoming a knee problem while Roberto Mancini has said there are no disciplinary issues concerning forward Mario Balotelli.
City midfielder Samir Nasri looks set to miss the clash against his former club through a hamstring injury.
Joleon Lescott will hope to reclaim his place from Matija Nastasic, but right-back Micah Richards (ankle) remains sidelined.
Arsenal Team News:
Keeper Wojciech Szczesny will again be sidelined by the ankle problem which forced him out of the midweek Champions League win in Montpellier, Vito Mannone will again deputise between the sticks.
Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) both made long awaited returns to training this week but are still some way from first-team contention.
Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and Bacary Sagna (broken leg) are still out but are expected to feature within two weeks.
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This article was first posted on September 23, 2012