Can Arsenal continue their stunning defensive record at the Etihad on Saturday?
When Arsenal run out to take on Manchester City on Saturday, the team have an opportunity to make a real statement as to how serious they are about winning the Premier League title this year. You can watch the game live with BT Sport.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are very strong at home and have taken maximum points from their fixtures at the Etihad Stadium this season. The Manchester club have turned their home into a fortress, where plenty of top sides have gone over the last three seasons and been comprehensively beaten.
For Arsenal, a positive result away to City has the ability to send shockwaves throughout the division, open our lead at the top further and damage a fellow contender in the process.
It will be no easy feat. City are teaming with top-drawer, world-class players and the Gunners will need to be at their very best to get the three points. The likes of Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are as good as anyone in their position in the division and are in great form, while the hosts are also boosted by the return to action of commanding centre-half Vincent Kompany.
Despite City’s qualities, top of the table Arsenal certainly have players capable of hurting the hosts also, and their defence has been susceptible to soft goals on occasion.
Against Everton, Wenger’s men looked slightly off the boil, with Aaron Ramsey in particular uncharacteristically quiet. Napoli can be, in context of the Premier League, be written off as a one-off. A better performance is needed at the Etihad Stadium, but the Gunners are certainly capable of going toe-to-toe with the best in the Premier League.
Although the side’s attacking play has been the facet to draw praise for the team this term, our defence has been excellent also and we have conceded the least goals in the league (11).
Laurent Koscielny was excellent against Everton, but Wenger needs his entire back four to show the same level of discipline that has been on show over the last month to blunt City’s attacking prowess.
City are currently six points behind Arsenal, while Chelsea and Liverpool are five points adrift. A win at the Etihad Stadium would give the club real breathing space over Pellegrini’s men, with a nine-point deficit making things more than comfortable.
A defeat could see Arsenal reeled in to only two points ahead of the chasing pack, and as such a positive result against City is vital to keep momentum going.