Connect with us

Match Previews

Match Preview; Manchester City v Arsenal: Do Either Set of Players Care?

It’s a match that at the beginning of the season, many prognosticators marked as a possible title decider. Well, as we are all well aware that is not the way it has turned out. What was once looking like a heavy weight match up now is a tale of two teams looking to see who can muster enough energy to outlast the other and avoid falling into the Champion’s League qualifier spot.

Neither team with all it’s star-studded fire power has mustered anything resembling a fight this season. The question is who’s season of woe is worse?

Both teams had different pundits tabbing them to take hold of the trophy that now is firmly in the drunken grasp of Leicester. Both have failed miserably in their quest for the title.

Each team is blessed with talented, world class players, but when it came down to it, those players failed to help their teams achieve their goals. For City’s part, at a minimum they walk away with the League Cup. For Arsenal they are empty handed – an all too familiar place.

The battle will come down to which team really wants it more.

In their last two matches – in the league and Champion’s League – City looked devoid of any motivation. They looked like a beaten team waiting for their days on the beach and tee-times. Whether City’s downfall had anything to do with the early announcement on Pep Guardiola’s taking over for Manuel Pellegrini is anyone’s guess. But City were not in a great place, well before we got to this point.

For Arsenal, at the turn of the year, things certainly looked better. But it was in reality a false down. The worrying signs were evident as early as November as the goals dried up and Arsenal seemed to lack the nerve to close the deal.

Even as the Gunners have closed out the season it has been a tiresome affair with luck having more to do with positive results than Arsenal’s attempt at closing out the season on a positive note.

What both teams have to be worried about is that with two matches left there is a real possibility that the loser of today’s match could find themselves out of the Champion’s League spots altogether.

While United’s win on Saturday was lackluster it was still a win, and with a match in hand, they control their destiny. If City or Arsenal lose, then they will have to pay close attention to the midweek tie between West Ham and United. Should United win that, the last day of the season has implications for the loser of the match.

Arsenal come in for the most part healthy with key cogs finally available for Arsene Wenger to call upon. City are a little banged up with Vincent Kompany and David Silva out. However, Raheem Sterling and Samir Nasri are available and could fill in out wide.

It will essentially come down to which poor team decides to actually show up for the day and take control of the match. For each set of fans it’s likely they just want the season over. It’s likely that way for each set of players but. . . the match still has to be played. . . so who wants it more?

The Manager’s Take: (Courtesy
Sunday’s game is still important, even if Leicester are champions today and we are second best,” he said. “It is still a very important game because part of the responsibility of being professional is to prepare the future. The future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game.

“There’s a European Championship and there’s a Copa America [in the summer]. To get our players back, we made a schedule. It’s absolutely very difficult because the European Championship finishes on July 10. If you think that you have to give at least three to four weeks of holiday to the players who go to the end [of the tournament], that means they come back at the beginning of August.

“Our target now is to secure a position in the Champions League next year. If possible, to get second place or at least secure third place. On Sunday we can achieve that. We still have two games, and if we win those two games we will be alright.

Probable Lineups:

Arsenal, AFC, Arsenal FC, Manchester City. City, MCFC, Gunners, Blues, Match Preview. Preview, EPL, Premier League, Barclay's Premier League,

click to enlarge

Injuries and Suspensions:
Arsenal: Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Mertesacker (hamstring)

Manchester City: Silva (hamstring), Zabaleta (calf), Kolarov (knock), Kompany (groin)

Match Officials:
Referee: Anthony Taylor (28M, 101Y, 4R)
Assistant Referees: L Betts, S Burt
Fourth Official: M Jones

Broadcast Information:
UK: Sky Sports; 16.00 GMT
US: NBC Sports Network; 11:00AM EST

Manchester City 2 –  2 Arsenal

Match Facts: (Courtesy via Opta Sports)

  • Manchester City have lost 23 Premier League games against Arsenal, more than against any other side.
  • The Gunners are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches against City, winning the last two (W2 D2).
  • City’s win percentage against Arsenal in the Premier League is 16%, their lowest against any opponent in the history of the competition.
  • Theo Walcott has scored three goals in his last two Premier League appearances against Manchester City.
  • Mesut Ozil provided his 14th and 15th assists of the season at the Emirates against Man City in December. Since then, he has just three assists in 18 Premier League games.
  • Arsenal have lost just one of their last eight Premier League away matches, but five of these have been draws (W2).
  • Manchester City’s next defeat in the Premier League will be their 250th, becoming the ninth team to reach this milestone.
  • The Gunners have kept three clean sheets in a row in the top-flight, last managing four successive league clean sheets in May 2014.
  • Kelechi Iheanacho’s 86.9 minutes per goal rate is the best in Premier League history for any player to score three or more goals.
  • Danny Welbeck has equalled his Premier League goal tally from last season for Arsenal (4), but has played only 10 games this season compared to 25 in the last campaign.



More in Match Previews