Arsenal v Man City – The THREE key player battles

Arsenal vs Manchester City: Three key player battles by SE

Manchester City visit the Emirates stadium this Saturday afternoon, as they look to get back to winning ways after an ignominious home defeat to Stoke City, before the international break. Their opponents, Arsenal, have had a mediocre start to their league campaign, as well, which has seen them pick 5 points from three games. However, with plenty of injuries to contend with for both managers, it could prove to be an arduous task for either of these sides to come out in flying colors at the end of 90 minutes. Here, we take a look at three player battles that could play a pivotal role in who wins this Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Manchester City.

Player Battles

Mathieu Flamini vs David Silva
The Frenchman hasn’t been at his very best in recent times when he has had to warm the benches for long periods and, as and when Arteta breaks down now and then, always finds himself in a catch-22 scenario of whether he wants to play for his spot in the side or deputize for Arteta efficiently. On Saturday, with a distinct possibility of starting ahead of Arteta as Arsenal’s No.4, he will be tasked with looking after Manchester City’s playmaker, David Silva.
With their own share of injuries to contend with, Pellegrini is expected to shift to a more cautious 4-2-3-1 system, which would see Silva play in the hole. Towards the end of last season, when Manchester City played in the aforementioned system – Silva was irrepressible – while playing at No.10 for the eventual champions. Playing in the free role, Silva would have a wide range of touch points on the Emirates pitch, and it would be down to Flamini to not go to sleep and track Silva’s movement incessantly.

On Saturday, Silva would want to be a thorn in Arsenal’s flesh but, with Flamini’s propensity to tackle vigorously and make it disconcerting for the Spaniard, his credentials of being a big fish in the Premier League will be tested.

Pablo Zabaleta vs Alexis Sanchez
On the Left-Hand-Side for Arsenal, it will be an all South-American battle to drool over for everyone watching. Zabaleta and Sanchez are prolific players in their positions and, more than their innate skills, it’s their hard work and industry that will catch the eye of spectators at the ground and on TV. Zabaleta, during his long Manchester City career, has stood up to the likes of Ribery and Ronaldo, but the Chilean’s intelligent dribbling, in addition to deceptive pace, means that the Argentine will be given a run for his money.
Zabaleta can be very good going forward, but he has to be equally good – defensively – if he has to win his battle against Sanchez. The Chilean is Arsenal’s main man, and a good portion of Arsenal’s performance on Saturday hinges on how Sanchez fares as a Left-Winger against the ever so affable Zabaleta. In my opinion, this battle could, in all possibility, decide the destiny of this game.

Demichelis vs Welbeck
On Thursday, albeit Wenger was coy about Welbeck’s prospective debut for the North Londoners, it is almost given that the former Red Devils’ man will start up front for Arsenal. Brought in for his flair and versatility to play as a striker and in wide positions, Welbeck would want to fend off the gazing eyes of the world and make a resounding start to life at the Emirates. At the heart of Man City’s defence, he would want to drift away from Vincent Kompany, and keep testing out Demichelis’ slowness by running at him vigorously. Man City’s defence is one area Arsenal ought to keep probing, as it has looked shaky over the course of this season and, with the pace of Arsenal’s front three to contend with, Kompany and co. will be in for another stiff test.

Demichelis can be a good reader of the game but, even he, can be hasty in jumping into tackles prematurely. This is where Welbeck’s deftness and incisive movement could catch the Argentine cold. Albeit it will not be as significant a battle as Sanchez’s against Zabaleta, Welbeck, you would think, is a key component to Arsenal kicking off September with an indispensable win.

Final Thought
Going by the aforementioned player battles, this game promises so very much. From Arsenal’s perspective: if they can win at least 2 of these 3 player battles, they would give themselves a good chance of winning the game, collectively.

Tags Arteta Flamini Sanchez


  1. red14 says:

    I just cant see us dont win this game

    1. Budd says:

      But then again, we may just win it. I don’t believe though Flamini will be in the first 11.

    2. Hald says:

      The power in Man City midfield is there.Maybe a different approach can win us the game.Playing wide,putting crosses and long balls to our attackers.This can be key!

  2. Young Gun_AFC says:

    Aguero vs BFG will be the most important battle. Debuchy will need to help out and be more defensive.

  3. Wootton says:

    I’m a very optimistic guy, but i swear to god if özil is played on the left our chances are halfed. He’s an awesome player in the middle but we need some strong lads on the flanks that can track back.

  4. Sumo says:

    Sanchez looks so out of place in the Group Photographs.
    Put him with Santi and Arteta. At least they csn talk in Spanish.
    He looks so alone.

    1. Pythagoras( but you can call me pi) says:

      noticed that too, but I think he should be put next to Ozil, he seems to have no eyes while Ozil, well, has all eyes 😀 😀 😀

    2. summerbreez says:

      Sanchez played last saturday aganst mexico there was a match on tuesday too but dont know if he played most definitely jet lagged with an early kick he will be out of all sorts but hopping he will be allright i would stick him on at half time and making sure he is warmed up ready to score

  5. Taiwo says:

    It’s a game to be decided at the middle of the pack, whoever dominate the mid field will win the match! Gunners all the way.

  6. dboy says:

    I would fancy a line up like this

    Debuchy Mert Kos Gibbs
    Sanchez Ozil Carzola Ox


    Chambers enforcing the midfield and giving cover in defence. Pace on the wings and upfront.
    Subs: Monreal

    1. henry12 says:

      So your’e going to play a 19 year old who has never played in a CDM role before, against the premier league champions?

      1. dboy says:

        Really ? Never played in Cdm? I think we all no that Chambers was signed because of his versatility according to AW he plays Rb Cb an Dm he was played in those positions at Sotho. After his performance I don’t doubt he can.

      2. dboy says:

        Wenger said he can also understand the shock at such a fee for the inexperienced Chambers, who has made only 18 Premier League starts for Southampton, but he likes the 19-year-old’s versatility.
        The manager added: “He can play at centre-back, right-back and central midfield. I hope he will give us competition for the players in these positions. He hasn’t played many games, no, but the English players on the market in England are very expensive and at the end of the day I was ready to take a gamble because he is a player for the future.”

      3. summerbreez says:

        Sort of 5 at the back …
        ………..goal keeper
        …………the back 4

        with ramsey and alexi in early second half
        I am hoping city get an early yelwo card we score and put the presure through the yelow card holder and get him sent off and then run riot through the same hole that should pin players to cover by accurate passing we should be able to panetrate through to the open space and score one way of looking at it providing we dont get an early yelow 🙂

  7. Pythagoras( but you can call me pi) says:

    Wenger’s choice of players and formation will determine the game to a very large extent

  8. AYZAY says:

    Am i the only one noticing a drop of form in yaya toure?

    1. says:

      It’s the big games he will shine coz he don’t want to play for them anymore and come jan sales he will go to PSG

  9. says:

    I think this game we should go out to win but play chambers and Mathew in front of the back 4. So try and play a 1-0 to the arsenal. All the players need to now stand up and be counted big time. If with 20 min to go we are winning lock up play ugly but WIN

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