Thursday, October 21, 2010

Manchester City vs Arsenal: An Early Preview

Everybody is talking about how this match is a big test for Arsenal’s title ambitions. While, I would agree that this is definitely a major match, I don’t think we should take it harder than a match against any of the big teams. Manchester City is definitely on the up and looking very much like real title challenges. To be realistic, after spending close to £300 million to assemble the team, you would expect City to be right up there. It is therefore a pleasant surprise that they are not fully developed as a team and it can only mean good news for the Gunners. 

It has not been happy visits for the Gunners to Eastlands since the Gulf owner took over. Last year we were beaten on both our matches there, the infamous 4-2 defeat in the League and another 3-0 reversal in the quarterfinals for the Carling Cup. However, we are on a roll with two victories on the trot and should go into the game full of confidence, whereas when we visited City in the league last year, we were still wondering what went wrong after being robbed the weekend before at Old Trafford.

It is also good news on the team front for the Gunners. Skipper and talisman Cesc Fabregas completed 60 minutes in the Champions League rout of Shakhtar Donestsk and looked in control of proceedings. He should again start in midfield together with Samir Nasri and Alex Song. Jack Wilshere will be missing through suspension and his place should be taken by Theo Walcott, who himself is just returning from injury. Even though Rosicky had a good game on Tuesday night, I believe Arsene Wenger will reinstate Andrei Arshavin to his spot in right midfield. The are no defenders returning from injury so that same back four should be playing their third successive game together.

As for City, I don’t think we will see BloodyBayor in the team or even on the bench given his insipid performance against Blackpool. Mancini would probably start with the formation that ended the game against the Seasiders with Silva playing just behind Tevez. There might be a place on the bench for Barlotelli whom we have not seen in the Premiership since his transfer from Inter Milan.

All in all, this top of the table clash is surely going to be an open contest, with both team aiming to stake their championship credentials over the other. Everybody can remember how explosive the situation was the last time both team met at Eastland. Although the plot isn’t so complicated this time, I don’t think the atmosphere would be any less fiery. 

Match Preview 
by  Prashavin

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