Manchester City, the champions, are the ones carrying the negative momentum into this match, failing to win their last two matches in both the Premier League and the Champions League, while Arsenal are carried by their three consecutive wins in both competitions. Favorites? Not yet.
Winning against City, who are having their problems keeping balls out of their net this season (conceding six goals so far) will be a huge signal that Arsene Wenger has a team ready to challenge for the title, and stick in that run till the very end. They’ve conceded only once so far this season, while Lukas Podolski is in fantastic scoring form, even addicting someone like Gervinho, usually not the most clinical of finishers.
The problems for City begin with the absence of Samir Nasri, who’s been their best creative force in the midfield, with David Silva still not managing to recapture the form of last season. Edin Dzeko has been a scoring machine; Yaya Toure has been fantastic as well for the side, hoping that Sergio Aguero will be fit to play for the team he announced was his second choice when leaving Atletico Madrid.
For Arsenal, it’s going to be Mannone between the goalposts, in what has become a very confident unit, along with Thomas Vermaelen and Pet Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs on the left side of the defense and either Jenkinson or Sagna on the right side. The key for Arsenal will be in the midfield, and how Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta get into the game.
City will play with Silva, Toure, Javi Garcia and Gareth Barry as their midfield unit most likely, creating an advantage in the middle against the three man Arsenal unit. Cazorla and Arteta have been fantastic early on this season, and clever play, passing and off the ball movement from them might make us forget they’ll be short a player when it comes to the midfield battles.
Favorites? Still City, with depth and talent that Arsenal are lacking after the first 11 players, and probably in their first 11, especially when it comes to the players up front. Podolski’s great, Gervinho is in great form, and that’s it. Walcott needs to shake himself before he won’t be worth the contract he wants, while on the other side, City have Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko and Balotelli battling for a chance to prove their scoring worth.
Prediction? City are the better side, and have won in recent years when Arsenal pay them a visit. Despite the Arsenal defense and recent streak, City proved against Real Madrid that when you remove the luck factor from the match, they’re one of the best sides in Europe.