Arsenal entertain Champions Manchester City in the early kick off on Saturday which is a repeat of the Community Shield which saw Wenger’s men run out eventual 3-0 winners. This will be seen as one of the biggest clashes so far in a Premier League season which is expected to be one of the most exciting and open campaigns in years. It has been a bit of a stuttering start for both sides as they go into this early season crunch match which for Arsenal will be a good barometer to see how far they have come since last season, for Manchester City it will be a good indicator to see if they can repeat their impressive form of last season.
The home side will be looking to keep up their unbeaten run and repeat their impressive performance from Wembley against Manchester City, many would put that down as just a friendly and this could be the acid test as to whether Arsenal can be taking seriously as title contenders. Arsenal are still without Theo Walcott who should return in a matter of weeks and also Olivier Giroud who will return in January at the earliest. there is a boost for Arsenal as Kieran Gibbs and club Captain Mikel Arteta are available again after injury with both expected to feature. New signing Danny Welbeck who impressed on England duty will be in contention for a starting place and will be looking to emulate his performance in front of goal from Monday night.
Arsenal’s sharpness has been called into question with some lackluster performances at the start of this season with a scrappy 2-1 win at home to Crystal Palace, followed by two draws away to Everton and Leicester City. With many of their stars on international duty you would expect their sharpness to be a step closer to what is expected at this stage of the season, with home advantage they could even be down as narrow favourites due to their visitors early season jitters.
Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to get his side back to winning ways after a shock home loss to Stoke City who stunned the whole of the Premier League with their 1-0 win at the Etihad before the International break, Man City don’t often lose two matches in a row so they will be fired up and will be looking to catch the hosts early knowing full well their recent history in early kick offs from last season.
City’s firepower is something to be admired and fear, Arsenal will need to be 100% concentrated for 94 minutes of football on Saturday if they are to take all three points. Pellegrini has a world class squad available and could easily field two different starting XIs at the Emirates so it is anybody’s guess who he picks but whoever he chooses is a possible match winner.
The key man for Manchester City will be Ivory Coast powerhouse Yaya Toure who was undoubtedly their best player last season and will be looking to control the midfield from a deeper position, don’t be surprised to see Toure’s position change as the game goes on and get more advanced n support of the likely pairing of Aguero and Dzeko.
I can see this game being a bit cagey as neither side will want to lose but one goal will change the game completely. There has not been much to choose between the two sides so far this campaign and a point for either side could be the difference at the end of this season. Final score 1-1
How do you see the big match of the weekend going? Can Arsenal buck the trend against a title rival or will Manchester City get revenge for the defeat at the hands of Wenger’s troops in the Community Shield? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .