Charlie Nicholas has claimed that Manchester City will have plenty of the ball tonight, with Mikel Arteta having to put too much onus on protecting his Arsenal defence.
Our side make the trip up to Manchester to take on the Citizens at the Etihad tonight, in our first competitive match for over three months thanks to the recent Coronavirus pandemic.
Arsenal had finally picked up some form before the suspension of football, but after such a length of time without playing and limited training, it may be a big ask to suggest we would be able to build on that form.
Despite winning our last three Premier League outings before the break, Nicholas has claimed that we are set to be on the back foot tonight.
‘City will have a lot of the ball – I think Arsenal will sit and play one up front,’ Nicholas told Sky Sports. ‘As much as Arteta loves playing a 4-3-3, he will have to protect the weakness at the back.
‘The areas where Pep’s side will be overpowering will be in midfield and the wide areas. Whether Leroy Sane stays next year or not we do not know, but he will busting to get a start and get back playing.
‘You then have the likes of Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus – the choices are remarkable.
‘If Arsenal were to go with an attacking line-up, if it was a front three, it would become an isolated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Eddie Nketiah. They will not get the service or chances.
‘Sterling went through a poor spell before the break and drifted off, so he will be keen to get back into it. The standards he set meant he was not as good as what he has been.
‘There is too much pace, movement, control in City’s play, and in reality, Pep will have them fresh again. One thing we can expect is Kevin De Bruyne to be his same old brilliant self.
‘Man City have won one trophy, they have FA Cup to go for and the potential of the Champions League, so they have to be ready for that. City will get back in the groove, keep the ball and carve teams open.
‘I think Arsenal will have a half-decent run-in but this will be too much for them. City will take care of business. Man City 3-1 Arsenal.’
It’s quite interesting that Nicholas would write off our chances tonight, and goes against my feeling for tonight’s fixture.
Personally, Manchester City have really struggled in defence this term also, and to completely rule out are chances are a bit absurd to me.
Will Nicholas get proven right tonight? Am I the one who is being biased in my thoughts, and he is the realistic alternative?