Arsenal travel up to Manchester for a fixture that will almost definitely have a bearing on the title race. The Gunners go into the game five points ahead of Man City who have two games in hand and know that dropping points at the Etihad will put them in a very uncomfortable position. Many pundits and fans have written off Arsenal for Wednesday’s game based on their performances in the last two games against West Ham and last placed Southampton. In addition to this, Arsenal don’t have a good record when they travel to Manchester. Man City come into this game on the back of a comprehensive FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, setting up a final with city rivals Manchester United at Wembley.
When & Where?
Date: Wednesday, 26 April, 2023.
Time: 20:00 BST.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Pep Guardiola will be without the services of standout defender, Nathan Ake who remains out with a hamstring injury. It is not immediately clear how long he will be out injured but he won’t be available for the heavyweight clash. Phil Foden has returned to action and is expected to be part of the matchday squad.
Arsenal’s defensive struggles in the absence of William Saliba has seen them drop four points from six in their last two games. The center-back will miss Wednesday’s game with Mikel Arteta saying he doesn’t expect the defender or Granit Xhaka back for this crunch tie.
Manchester City have won ten of their last eleven games in all competitions, a run that has become synonymous with them at the end of the season. With two games in hand on Arsenal, a win on Wednesday means that their fate is in their own hands. Despite complaining about fatigue in the build-up to the FA Cup semi-final over the weekend, Pep Guardiola still managed to field a side that featured Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. With a relatively healthy squad at his disposal, Guardiola will field a very strong squad with three points being the main goal. Erling Haaland has had a record-breaking season despite having a few injury worries and can continue his great form against the Gunners at home. He has scored four goals in his last two games and is on course to break all single-season goal-scoring records. History favors City as they have won all of their previous three games against Arsenal. Football is however an intriguing sport and history may not necessarily play a role in this huge title-deciding tie.
Arsenal have been anything but convincing in the last three games they have played in the league. Three consecutive draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton have allowed City to claw their way back into contention for the PL title. The problem has not been one of goals but of a porous defense. William Saliba has been struggling with a back injury meaning Arteta has needed to make a change to his backline pairing Rob Holding with Gabriel. This pairing has conceded eight goals in the last four games and against a free-scoring City side. Mikel Arteta has downplayed the importance of this fixture stating that his charges are preparing for the game and working on City’s strengths and weaknesses. Arsenal would need to take their chances as they come if they are to come away with a positive result on the road. Gabriel Jesus has been very wasteful in recent games but would have to do better against his former club. A defeat tomorrow night means they will have to be near-perfect in the rest of their games, a run that will see them face Chelsea, Newcastle and an in-form Brighton before the end of the season.
POSSIBLE STARTING XIs
Manchester City lineup vs Arsenal: Ederson, Dias, Stones, Laporte, Walker; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Haaland, Mahrez.
Arsenal lineup vs Manchester City: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Holding, Zinchenko, Partey, Odegaard, Viera, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus.