Arsenal will host Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, March 29 (5:30 PM GMT), in a very important match for both teams. While the Gunners remain in contention for the FA Cup trophy, the Citizens won the Capital One Cup and were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona, so the only competition they’re fighting for is the Premier League, in which they’re the main candidate to win the title.
Arsenal is in a bad moment, after two bad results obtained last week, the awful loss against Chelsea by 0-6 at Stamford Bridge and the 2-2 tie with Swansea City at Emirates Stadium. They are in the fourth place with 63 points -six points behind the leader Chelsea-, and they need to revert the situation, because winning this match could be their last chance to continue dreaming about the Premier League title.
Furthermore, in case they give up the league title, they also have to win points if they want to play the Champions League in the next season, because Everton is in the fifth place only six points behind the Gunners with one match less -against City-.
The Gunners have a lot of injured players that won’t play on Saturday, like Laurent Koscielny (calf) and Nacho Monreal (foot) in defense, and three important midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Mesut Özil (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (foot, may not return before the end of the tournament), in addition to Theo Walcott (knee) that got injured almost three months ago and won’t play for the rest of the season.
The manager Arsène Wenger showed himself hopeful as he spoke to the press ahead of the City clash: “There’s still a lot of turning games that will happen until the end of the season. But it’s down to the quality of our performances. We don’t think about the title race now, we think about winning again and show you how small the differences are between the Premier League teams.” [source]
On the other hand, Manchester City recovered from the Champions League defeat against Barcelona and they’re in a great moment. The Citizens won the derby against United in Old Trafford by 3-0 last Tuesday, and they reached the third place with 66 points, but they have to play two postponed matches -against Sunderland and Aston Villa, both at home-, so they could climb to the top of the table if they win at least 4 out of that 6 points.
The Citizens’ striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero missed the clash against United due to a hamstring injury and he’s ruled out for Saturday’s game. Moreover, defenders Matija Nastasić and Micah Richards are both definitely ruled out for the match against the Gunners due to knee injuries.
The boss Manuel Pellegrini talked to the press about the way he’s thinking about the rest of the season: “We continue fighting with all the other teams, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. We have two games postponed but we have to win those two games so I think that it’s very important to try to go game by game and continue playing the game we did today. I’m not thinking about the title. Tomorrow I’ll start thinking about Arsenal and then we’ll see at the end of the season.” [source]
Arsenal vs Manchester City Prediction
In my opinion, this match will be very exciting. Both teams will look for the victory, because they always do so, and I think this game will have many goals. The Citizens are a more solid team than the Gunners and they’re in a better moment. Although Agüero is out, they still have great players in attack, like Álvaro Negredo and their -surprisingly- top goalscorer in the league Yaya Touré. Besides, Arsenal have many injured players and they’re not in a good moment after the embarrassing loss against Chelsea and the tie against Swansea playing at home, and I don’t think they could stop City, even playing at home. My prediction is a 2-4 victory for Manchester City.
TV Info: The match will be televised on NBC Sports Network, and Sky Sports 1 (UK).