Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad this weekend in a hugely anticipated contest between two sides with ambitions of challenging for silverware this season, Pep Guardiola set to once again pit his wits against former assistant, Mikel Arteta.
Here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s Premier League clash.
Manchester City: DLW
Manchester City have won just once in their three league fixtures so far this season, their opening day victory at Wolves followed up by a home humiliation against Leicester and an entertaining draw at newly-promoted Leeds.
After setting unprecedented standards in recent seasons, the league’s leading sides have lost some of their fear factor and teams are now facing the likes of Liverpool and City with increased confidence.
Guardiola has reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the early weeks of the season, but it is yet to have solved their defensive shortcomings, the 5-2 defeat to Leicester highlighting the problems faced when opposition drop into spaces between their backline and two-man midfield pivot.
City have been unfortunate with injuries and have seen the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan ruled out in recent weeks, though Aguero’s recent return to training has provided a timely boost.
Guardiola will also hope that Ruben Dias can settle quickly after enjoying a solid debut at Elland Road before the international break, the club-record signing viewed as a potential new leader in the backline.
City will head into the clash in confident mood, having won the past six Premier League fixtures between the two sides.
Arsenal will be pleased with their start to the season having taken nine points from four fixtures, the north London outfit currently sitting in the Champions League places after victories over Fulham, West Ham and Sheffield United.
Those wins have come either side of a defeat at champions Liverpool, and Mikel Arteta will hope for an improved showing this weekend as the Gunners look to challenge the division’s best sides.
Summer signings Willian and Gabriel have made an instant impression at the Emirates, the latter having been voted as the club’s Player of the Month for September following a series of commanding performances at the heart of the defence.
There remains a positivity around Arsenal at present and the deadline day capture of Thomas Partey has only increased optimism, the Ghana international in contention to make his debut this weekend.
Club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to shake off an ankle problem, though Callum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain sidelined.
Kieran Tierney will also miss the clash as a result of being in close contact with Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who received a positive coronavirus test resuly whilst on international duty.
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City, 18th July 2020 (FA Cup semi-final)
Arsenal advanced to the FA Cup final as Mikel Arteta outsmarted former mentor Pep Guardiola at Wembley, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proving to be the match-winner with a clinical brace.
The Gabon international turned home Nicolas Pepe’s deep cross expertly to open the scoring, before racing through on goal to finish past Ederson and seal the result in the second half.
It was a display of masterful finishing from the forward who netted twice more in the Gunners’ final victory over Chelsea, Aubameyang once again the inspiration as Arteta won his first major silverware since moving to the Emirates.
Predicted Line ups
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Partey, Ceballos; Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK supporters can watch the game on Sky Sports Main Event, whilst US fans can view the fixture on NBC.
What time is kick off?
Saturday October 17th, 17:30 BST.
Man City – 2/5
Draw – 17/4
Arsenal – 6/1