It is time for a crunch match at the Emirates Stadium this weekend as Arsenal take on holders Manchester City. Arsenal have endured an inconsistent first half to the season, encapsulated by their last two Premier League results – a convincing 7-3 victory against Newcastle followed by an awful performance in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Arsene Wenger’s side who are currently four points adrift of a coveted Champions League place are sitting in sixth position.
City will be hoping to keep in touch with league leaders and city rivals Manchester United with a positive result at The Emirates. The Sky Blues currently sit seven-points behind United with six-points less than their total after the same number of games last season.
Arsene Wenger’s side will be looking to enter the top 4 with a positive result, and they will definitely look at their top goal scorer Theo Walcott for inspiration.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will undergo a late fitness test on Sunday. French midfielder Abou Diaby is back into the squad after playing for the under-21s.
Manchester City, on the other hand, will be without Yaya Toure as he is away with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations along with brother Kolo. Sergio Aguero (hamstring injury) has been ruled out while former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri is still serving a suspension after his red card against Norwich. Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov has recovered from a groin injury and is available for selection.
WHAT THE STATS SAY:
Arsenal are third in the Premier League form guide having lost only once in their last six, above opponents City.
Arsenal have won nine matches in their first 20 league games, their lowest number since the 1998-99 campaign.
Arsenal have scored 40 goals in the Premier League so far, more than at the same point last season with van Persie in the side. Only the two Manchester clubs have scored more.
City have six points fewer than they were at this stage last term.
Mancini’s men have the best defensive record in the league conceding only 19 goals this season.
Manchester City have not won in the league at Arsenal since 1975.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Arsenal have missed their last three penalties taken against Manchester City.
- Theo Walcott is statistically the Gunners' most productive player so far this season with 15 goals and 6 assists in all competitions.
- The last player to score in the Premier League for Manchester City at Arsenal was Demarcus Beasley, way back in the 2006-07 season.
- There have been four dismissals in the last five Premier League meetings between to the two sides, with Mario Balotelli seeing red in City's last visit to the Emirates.
- Manchester City have allowed the opposition just 56 shots on target against them this season, the fewest in the Premier League.
- Despite the attacking talent on display, there have been just five goals in the last six meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and City at the Emirates Stadium.
- City have conceded a higher proportion of goals from outside the box than any other team in the Premier League.
Arsenal to win: 2.7
Manchester City to win: 2.82
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Manchester City 1 (Lescott) Arsenal 1 (Koscielny), Premier League, September 2012
Arsenal 1 (Arteta) Manchester City 0, Premier League, April 2012
Manchester City 1 (Silva) Arsenal 0, Premier League, December 2011
Where To Watch Online: Arsenal vs. Manchester City
KICK-OFF: Emirates Stadium, Sunday, 16:00 hrs (GMT)1010954