Saturday, 17 October 2020
The Premier League’s most anticipated fixture of gameweek 5 pits Manchester City against Arsenal in a Saturday evening clash.
In what has been a tale of lukewarm performances so far this season, both sides will be hoping for their opponents to capitulate in this section of field of play.
Manchester City have been a pale shadow of the team that stomped over their opponents two seasons on the way to their fourth title. A heavy defeat away to Leicester followed by a draw to newly promoted Leeds before the international break have left them 8 points behind the Merseyside league leaders Everton.
Languishing in 12th place, Pep Guardiola knows he can’t afford to slip up against his protégé Mikel Arteta high-flying side with a mountain to climb to return to their expected top slot.
Of course, with players like Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus out with short to long-term injuries, City are far below their best. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi look short of confidence and prone to mistakes.
The Citizens run the risk of going three leagues games without a win for the first time since April 2017, when incidentally the third match in that run saw them draw with the Gunners.
This will however be no walk in the park for the visitors. Teams making the trip to the Etihad must generally play with bravery and diligence, something Arteta will surely put into consideration as he makes his team selection.
Arsenal continued to frustrate and excite in equal measure, winning 3 of the four Premier League games in unconvincing fashion, losing out only to champions Liverpool to sit fourth on the table.
After spending three seasons at the touchline beside Guardiola, Arteta will be looking to prove he is his own man despite showing similarity in mindset and style of play acquired from his mentor.
He will be hoping to beat one of the established big six away from home in the leagues, a feat they have failed to achieve since their last win at tomorrow’s hosts in January 2015, a dismal run stretching 28 matches.
Guardiola has since been handed a major boost on the fitness front with Aguero looking likely to a return to action after being sidelined for months with injury.
Arteta hinted at the possibility of defender Kieran Tierney playing despite being in contact with a player who turned positive for the coronavirus while on international duty with Scotland.
The big money signing of Thomas Partey will shore up strength in midfield. Nicolas Pepe and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will be looking to cause the City defence trouble.
However the Gabon international is a bit short of goals this term so far. Aubameyang, who has played every minute of the league campaign, has scored 1 goal in the four matches.
Head to Head:
Arsenal are winless in the league in their last 6 meetings against their hosts.
Arsenal win over their hosts