With City reigning supreme in the town of Manchester, Arsenal head into this match with a tough task ahead of them. Thankfully enough for Arsenal, they do not have to head into the Etihad, instead, the title rivals head to the other major airline stadium, The Emirates, for a major tilt. With City hoping to collect more points which would bring them closer to the top of the table, Arsenal are also looking to put their miserable week behind them and play their hearts out. Here are a few player battles to watch out for in this highly contested matchup.
Joe Hart vs Oliver Giroud
Joe Hart started this campaign on the bench after a few sub-par games and some uproarious blunders. After some reflection and alone time, Hart has once again found his form and has been as dominant as ever. Giroud on the other hand, has been nothing shy of an average striker who needs a boost, a big boost! Hart’s early flops and Giroud’s lack of finishing could be exactly what the Gunners need this weekend. Giroud should attack the net with nothing held back, give Hart an early scare and the game could be off and running.
David Silva vs Mikel Arteta
David Silva has quietly had a solid campaign, as far as midfielders go. Silva was at the heart of City’s most recent show of mettle against the Red Devil’s, something for which Mikel Arteta, and Co. will need to contain from the first whistle on. Arteta, even though a proven attacking midfielder has transitioned into quite the holding midfielder, allowing players like Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski the freedom to stay in more of attacking positions and punish defenses. With Silva controlling the attacking midfield for the Sky Blues, Arteta will have to work harder than normal to keep his creativity at bay.
Thomas Vermaelen vs Edin Dzeko
With the potent partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny currently on hold due to an injury, the Arsenal skipper has some large shoes to fill. Edin Dzeko has punished defenses all year long, especially teams that hold high lines for the offside trip, like Arsenal’s. Vermaelen will have to assert his dominance over the 18-yard box and not be afraid to get under the burly attackers skin. If Vermaelen can partner up with Mertesacker and keep the defense organized and together, Arsenal stand a chance at keeping up with the attack minded Sky Blues.
If Arsenal are able to rattle Joe Hart and disrupt the creativity of David Silva from the moment the ball moves, this should be a beautiful game filled with flowing moves, harsh tackles, and goals galore. Both of the managers come into this game with an attacking mindset and the idea that their team will undoubtedly punish the other teams mistakes. If Aresne Wenger can rally his troops into believing they are the superior team capable of scoring more, Arsenal do have a chance at pulling out at least a draw, if not a victory. Final prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City