In the biggest game of the Premier League season to date, we take on Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium with top spot on the line.
Just three points separate the teams after the weekend’s results as we aim to end a 10-game league defeat by Pep Guardiola’s side and defend our unbeaten home record this season, staying top of the table in the process.
City may have won each of their last six trips to the Emirates Stadium, but this season they go into N5 having lost their last three away games and no team in history has won seven consecutive league games on our home turf .
Unexpectedly inconsistent City
For a team that has made its name by stringing together big wins to win championships, this season has seen City struggle to find a run of form, having incredibly yet to win four consecutive league games all season.
They dropped points at Newcastle United and Aston Villa at the start of the campaign, before suffering defeats at Liverpool and Brentford before the World Cup break. They ended 2022 with a home draw against struggling Everton and soon found themselves tasting defeat in the Manchester derby.
It looked like the corner had been turned when they beat Tottenham Hotspur, Wolves and then ourselves in the FA Cup in January, but defeat at Spurs halted their momentum once again, before they beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Sunday. .
Tactics of speech
Michael Cox, writing in the official matchday programme: Guardiola is known for springing surprises in big matches and will surely have something unexpected planned for this crucial game.
Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez have been in good form recently and look like first-choice options, in place of Phil Foden. Kevin De Bruyne remains a devastatingly effective passer and has formed a good link with Erling Haaland, often curling crosses from the inside right to the far post.
Rico Lewis appears to have been trained specifically to play the unusual right-back centre-half role, meaning that at times City’s back four effectively turns into a trio, with Lewis further up the pitch.
Rodry usually plays a role in midfield, while only Anderson has played more Premier League minutes for City this season than him. The strong goal kicks mean City can offer a more direct approach to Haaland than Guardiola’s usual favorable possession game.
What the managers say
Arteta: “We will play with 15 players tomorrow! [Our supporters] they are so excited about every ball and give us energy and support, and basically everything they have done. Let’s enjoy it, a beautiful evening on a truly special day.
“We are comparing two very different teams, one with huge experience [winning titles] and many of our players have never done it. We want to use that energy and that anger that we have inside to make the most of it.” – hear everything from Mikel’s pre-match press conference
Guardiola: “Of course it’s important because we can get the points and the best team so far can’t. But since we have to go to Nottingham Forest and the Champions League and we have the next six away games.
I have a feeling that many things can happen. The aim is tomorrow to help us be there in the last eight to 10 games. There are plenty of tough home and away games for all the contenders.
“Of course, we cannot deny that it is so important to us. If we handle all the aspects that these kinds of games give you, it’s a big difference.”
It remains to be seen whether Emile Smith Rowe or Reiss Nelson are fit enough to return to the squad following their recent injuries, with Arteta admitting he will make a late call on the duo. However, Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny are still unavailable.
City’s top scorer Haaland was withdrawn at half-time against Aston Villa on Sunday and Guardiola admitted he would not risk his star striker if he risked aggravating the problem, but was pictured taking part in a rehabilitation period on Monday.
Foden, who has been out for a couple of weeks through injury and illness, also featured, but John Stones remains out after straining his hamstring against us in the FA Cup last month.
Facts and statistics
We have named the same starting line-up in each of our last six Premier League games – never before have we done so in seven consecutive games in the competition.
We failed to win back-to-back games in the Premier League for the first time this season. However, we are unbeaten in our last 13 home league games (W11 D2), with the last unbeaten run at the Emirates between August 2018 and April 2019 (16).
We have lost our last 10 Premier League games to Manchester City, our biggest defeat against an opponent in our league history.
Manchester City are the only team Mikel Arteta has failed to beat in the Premier League.
Man City have lost their last two away games. They have only lost three runs on the road once under Pep Guardiola, in July 2020.
Leandro Trossard has already scored against Manchester City this season, netting in Brighton’s 3-1 defeat at the Etihad in October.
It’s a quick reunion with Anthony Taylor, who previously took charge of us on New Year’s Eve when we beat Brighton. It was a good omen for us as he was also responsible for our opening day win at Crystal Palace and October’s derby success against Tottenham.
In fact, we’ve only lost six of the 47 games he’s attended and won each of the last eight. However, we have not beaten City on the two occasions they have handled games between us – sending off David Luiz in a 3-0 defeat in Manchester in June 2020, with the other ending in a 2-2 home draw in 2016.
- Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick
- Assistant Referee 2: Adam Noon
- Fourth official: Darren England
- VAR: David Coote
- Assistant VAR: Mark Perry
Recent visits from the City
Guardiola’s side were last in the N5 on New Year’s Day 2022, when a last-minute goal from Rodri clinched victory for the visitors. Bucayo Saka had given us the lead, but a Mahrez penalty and Gabriel’s red card helped turn the game around.
This was their seventh straight win on our patch in all competitions, dating back to April 2017 when we drew 2-2 when Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi scored our goals.
The previous fixture in December was when we recorded our last home win over City, with Walcott again on target and Olivier Giroud grabbing what proved to be the winner in a 2-1 success.
Check out some classic goals and home wins against City in our playlist
Great match coverage starts at 6.30pm here on Arsenal.com and the official app, with Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke hosting Breakdown Live at the Emirates Stadium.
Joining them in the studio will be singer and Gooner Patoranking, who will reveal all about his love for the club, while we look at Gabriel Martinelli’s time in north London as he clocks up a century of appearances.
There will also be analysis of Manchester City’s threats and weaknesses, before being handed over to Dan Roebuck and Jeremie Aliadiere, who will provide live audio commentary. of the game – so don’t miss it!
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