In depth Preview and Team News for Arsenal v Man City

Arsenal vs Manchester City: Premier League preview by SE

Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kickoff: 12:45 PM BST

Matchweek 4 of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League campaign kicks off with the most engrossing of encounters, which, apart from the supporters of both these elite English clubs, will have most football fanatics around the world glued to their TV sets this Saturday afternoon. Arsenal host Manchester City at the Emirates, in what will be a pivotal clash to both sides from their seasons’ perspective. And, with both sides plagued by injuries to key players, Wenger and Pellegrini will have their thinking caps on, when it comes to picking their strongest possible starting lineups. Anything goes; you wouldn’t want to miss out on this mouthwatering clash between these two Premier League heavyweights.

The North Londoners have had a decent start to their campaign, which has seen them qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League for the 17th year running, and pick up 5 points from 3 Premier League fixtures. There hasn’t been that silky smooth football, which you normally associate with Wenger’s wizards but, having got a sense of what went wrong for them in August, Arsenal should come out all guns blazing when the reigning English champions visit the Emirates this Saturday afternoon.

The month of September doesn’t get any easier for Arsenal, who, following Manchester City’s clash, face an away fixture against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. This hectic September period also sees them face another home clash against their North London rivals, Spurs, right at the end of the month. Consequently, this Saturday’s clash against Man City becomes all the more important.

The likes of Cazorla, Sanchez and Monreal have had ‘good’ starts to the season, from their personal point of view, and would want to carry that form into Saturday’s game.

Manchester City
The reigning English champions, albeit a point ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League standings, endured a rather ignominious home defeat at the hands of Stoke City before the international break. Until then, the Cityzens had got off to a 100% start, with wins over Newcastle and Liverpool suggesting that they, like Chelsea, would be irrepressible during the early months of the campaign.

Also, the game on Saturday kick starts a period of grueling 8 days, during which they play Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, with a trip to Bavaria – to face Bayern Munich – sandwiched in between those two tough domestic assignments.

Jovetic had a good home game against Liverpool, against whom he scored a brace; Aguero, in the two substitute appearances, had bagged a couple of goals for himself but, against Stoke City, he couldn’t do another ‘Aguerooooo’ moment to save the blushes for the sky blues. Dzeko, albeit impressive, hasn’t got on the score sheet, yet.

Team News – Arsenal
The Gunners are fretting over a possible ankle injury to their talismanic Welshman, Aaron Ramsey, who is an integral part of this Arsenal machine and, going by the latest reports, the 22-year old is likely to miss to Saturday’s home fixture against Man City.

Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta – who suffered hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, during the 1st week of the campaign – are reported to be getting back to full fitness, but it remains to be seen whether they are 100% to take the field against Manchester City. Theo Walcott continues his rehabilitation, and this game comes too quick for the Englishman’s return.

Manchester City – Team News
While there were sickening fears over Kompany’s fitness before Belgium’s friendly match against Australia, it does look like the Belgian will be ready to lead the Champions for this all important clash. Jovetic didn’t feature for Montenegro, having picked up a hamstring injury ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifier against Moldova, and there’s every chance that he may have to sit out his side’s clash against Arsenal this Saturday. Fernando’s availability, going by reports on Thursday evening suggests that he still hasn’t recovered from the groin pull he suffered against Stoke in Manchester City’s last league fixture.

Arsenal’s probable starting XI – Formation 4-3-3: Wojciech Szczesny (GK), Per Mertesacker (C), Mathieu Debuchy, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck.

Manchester City’s probable starting XI – Formation 4-2-3-1: Joe Hart (GK), Vincent Kompany (C), Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Gael Clichy, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero.

Where the game could be won and lost?
Manchester City, with their physical presence in the midfield, will be a serious force to contend with for Arsenal. And, injury to Jovetic means that Pellegrini would deploy 4-2-3-1 – instead of 4-4-2 – to make sure they control the game in the middle of the park, unlike the shambolic midfield display in the FA Community Shield.
Arsenal, being the home side, have their own share of ammunition; Welbeck is expected to make his debut, which is a mouthwatering prospect for Arsenal, as he will be key to posing problems for the Manchester City backline. Sanchez’s significance needs no mentioning, as he will be the fulcrum to Arsenal taking three points from Man City. I expect Wenger to stick to 4-3-3, but Ozil playing on the wings is not going to prove effective for the North Londoners.
In the end, it could come down to Arsenal’s defending, which, in recent seasons, has hemorrhaged early goals in marquee games such as this one. Arsenal need to keep it tight early on, and play on Manchester City’s patience.

I expect this to be a tight game, with Arsenal being the home side and Manchester City having too many resources to call upon, depending on the situation.

Putting my money on the North Londoners, however, to nick a 2-1 win and get their season up and running.


  1. Vermont Gooner says:

    Ramsey isn’t 22

    1. Hald says:

      Come on Arsenal,Let’s do it for once and for all.

    2. JStarrr says:

      interesting fact fellow gooners…
      Welbeck – 37 club goals. 10 international.

      Van Persie (age 23) – 41 club goals. 2 international.

      Now mind you RVP waited 5 years after we signed him to have a good season, and Welbeck is most likely going to make an instant impact….I think we got a good deal.

      Not to mention we sold an aging van Persie to the same guys we brought their starlet…lol. uniteds retarded. CoYG!!!!!

      1. Aggelos says:

        So,you mean that you were happy that RVP left 2 years ago?

        1. JStarrr says:

          Just comparing….both wingers who wanted to be st.

          Both have arsenal and united as their teams.

          Welbeck WILL be better….that’s all I’m saying

      2. JoJo says:

        Wow.. Just wow.

  2. Patrick Shiiiza says:

    We can do it. We might have to sacrifice an attacking player to have more in the middle of the field though. If we can smother the middle of the park like we did in the Shield we definitely have a chance. Fernando is injured so no chance of city playing him with Fernandinho and Toure in the middle to off set our advantage there.

    I really hope Özil finds his form. Wenger might not even start him out of injury fear. Same for Ramsey. Although we need our best players on the pitch. Wenger might reward Wilshere for some better performances recently. We should also exploit our new found pace.

    IF Ramsey is injured, I wouldn’t mind:

    Ox/Cazorla — Özil — Alexis
    — Wilshere —
    Monreal — Kos — Mert — Debuchy

    If Ramsey can start then play him with Özil coming on later and also tweak the formation. Cazorla has recently performed well, so he might start on the LW with OX coming on as an impact sub. Or Cazorla might even start as CAM instead of Özil if the latter’s injury is worse than we feared. I’m just speculating and ranting here… so we’ll see what actually happens 😛


  3. vijaygunner says:

    ramsey has resumed training, he will start tomorrow.

    1. Patrick Shiiiza says:


  4. red14 says:

    just win this…if not we’re already 6 or 7 pts behind chelsea……..after 4 games.. we can say goodbye to the title in september. so badly want us to win the league..must beat everybody from now on.. there is no excuse all the players must be in 100% condition now..except germans who should be on 80-90%… COYG gun for the TITLE!!!!!!!!!already buzzing

    1. jaggy says:

      We need to at least draw against the top 4 (chelsea, liverpool, city and utd) and win the others, last season if we drew those games, the 6- 5-1 6-3 1-0, last season we could have finished 2nd and we had won at least 1 we could have won the league. We don’t need to win every game to win the league, it would help of course, what we need to do is to stay solid in the big games.

      1. red14 says:

        yes sir youre right at some points, but chelsea will beat all top4 teams at home, and dont lose any games against them away, and we drew our home and away games with top4 teams, then chelsea will have a 15 point lead or more.. they wont be delighted with draws, but for wins. and i cant see them drop 15 points while we also win all of our games… we need win win win because they already have 4 more than us. beat every one from now on (yeah its impossible, but DO NOT SETTLE with draws.

        1. jaggy says:

          It’s so early in the season to say Chelsea have basically won the league with a 4 point gap :L that’s ridiculous

          1. Patrick Shiiiza says:

            Remember we had a six point gap taken away from us. Or was it a 4 point?? whatever, you get my point. Still way too early, although they are the ones to beat with City.

  5. REiGN says:

    This could be a make or break game.

  6. muda says:

    3points we need #COYG

  7. th14 says:

    Because of the draw against leicester all 3 points is a must a draw isn’t good enough.

  8. ram says:

    Man..!! That really is an in depth review..
    Anyway.. the clash tomorrow is never gonna be easy for Arsenal.. we sure have to work our socks off and with a possibility of Ramsey out its going to be a tough one.. And it is same for Manc as well..
    Remember they are coming after a defeat at stoke, so they must be fired up.. BFG has a big job to do tomorrow.. but they are playing at emirates and that will surely make a difference..
    I cannot wait to see how Ozil and Welbeck work together..!! I am just goin to sit back and enjoy the game..
    I hope Arsenal win this one to set the tone for the season..

    1. Patrick Shiiiza says:

      You said it. Özil and Welbeck AND Alexis is a dream! and a well written article.

      well done @SE

      1. Suhith92 says:

        Thanks Pat. Enjoy the game 🙂

  9. Cartman says:

    It would be awesome if Walcott returns by the Spurs game. I would love for him to score and hold up 2 fingers like last time

  10. Ks-Gunner says:

    Fans live for those big games. Comon Arsene, win it for us. Its been a while since we have won against a big team.

  11. dboy says:

    4-3-3 against a Man City team playing 4-2-3-1 will be suicidal. We can either go 4-5-1 or 4-4-2. Formation.

  12. lupe says:

    i would like to see a 4-2-3-1 formation and this starting line up
    Since arterta is fit,i will like arteta and flamini to start to offer more protection and wilshere to start on the bench, ramsey and ozil are probably not very fit so we should not risk them to avoid long term effect, if they can make it to the bench, that will be good. When we are playing the bigger boys, we have to be more cautious and sit back more than we usually do i think this line up is good as we can also attack them with pace and counter attack and we can even hold on to the ball more if we need to.

  13. Gooner4G says:

    …………….flamini…………Ramsey/Jack(only if Rambo unfit)……………
    Sanchez ……….Cazorla ………….. Campbell

  14. jonestown1 says:

    I’m more nervous than I should be regarding tomorrow – not so much about the result, I do not think we will lose, but more about the media reaction and its impact. The press should be hilarious this weekend if we were to beat City (“City not at best….” etc) and United roll over QPR (“Van Gaal’s statement of intent”… “the Reds back to their imperious best…”, “OT transfer policy vindicated”). But reading the cross section of opinion on this thread and other similar ones I am struck as to how quickly we forget the volatility and unpredictability of the PL and just revert to type at the beginning of every new season. “Man City this” and “Chelsea that”, making them out to be some other worldly monstrous juggernauts. We forget all their terrible results last season and forget that we only lost one more game than both in the PL. Yes “abysmal Arsenal”, “no bottle Arsenal”, “weak defensive Arsenal” and “goal-shy without a decent CF Arsenal” lead the titans of English football for most of the season and ended up 2 results away from the title. We are not THAT bad and they are not THAT good. Yes we had those catastrophic away results but logic suggests that mental fragility rather than team personnel was more the culprit. We leaked 21 goals away to the top 7 teams last season and you would think that this alleged chasm in class would have lead to something better when they played us at home – but none beat us and we conceded just 2 goals in 6 matches. Pretty much same personnel – 21 goals conceded away and 2 at home. Go figure. We tend to lend logic to the idea that the MCs and CFCs of this world are bound to improve and iron out these weaknesses but that we will just repeat the pattern. Watched some premier preview chat show this morning – two of the three have City down for a win and the third went for a draw – drooling over the power that is going to sweep us aside. No mention of this powerhouse being done at home by Stoke last week, no mention of the 0-3 reverse at Wembley, no mention of not beating us at home last year, no mention that our team/squad is improved from last year while they have consolidated, no mention that we have W12 L8 D4 record over the last 10 years etc. Now they might well be right – and apart from the AV blip last season the last time we lost at home in the PL was to MC in Jan 2013 so there is precedent there – but hate the lazy media lines being clunked out time after time after time.

  15. Linsagunner says:

    Cazorla/Rosicky or ozil in the hole (in that pecking order)

    We can ill afford another one of Wenger’s experiments by playing CAM’s on the wing when we have loads of pacey wingers on the bench

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