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As close as it gets

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Arsenal vs Manchester City preview 

Never before in the Premier League has it happened that the top two teams in the standings have not faced each other until the end of February. However, such has been the circumstances that Arsenal and Manchester City, who occupy the top two places in the league, will play their first match. The two teams are currently separated by three points (City having played a game more), making the two matches between them pivotal for the title race. 

Arsenal are coming off a 1-1 draw that saw them being the victims of one of the worst VAR decisions. However, their main focus will now be to get all three points against City, giving them breathing space at the top of the table. 

Meanwhile, Manchester City have got back to winning ways after their defeat to Tottenham. The defending champions defeated Aston Villa 3-1 to win the match, but even with a rampant Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne, the team has looked far from perfect. 

Pep Guardiola has lamented the lack of hunger in his current squad, and this is one of the reasons why he was backed even after allowing Joao Cancelo, one of their players in the last three seasons, to leave on loan to Bayern Munich.

However, City know that a win against Arsenal will put them right back in the title race. They already won a game against the Gunners just three weeks back when they won 1-0 in the FA Cup. 

But in the league, Arsenal have been a different side cutting defences apart with their fluid attacking play. And the team know they have the talent at their disposal that, on their day, can easily rattle City’s defence which has been far from perfect this season. 

In January, Pep Guardiola conceded the title race to Arsenal, but his tea could be right back in the thick of it if they manage to beat Arsenal in their backyard. 

Arsenal vs Manchester City team news 

One of the significant absentees for the Gunners has been the impressive Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian made an incredible start in his debut season for the club scoring five goals and assisting five. However, he has been sidelined with an injury, which will keep him out for a few weeks. Other major absentees are Mohamed Elneney, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson. 

Mikel Arteta could start the same side which drew against Brentford, with the only question being who starts on the left wing between Gabriel Martinelli and new signing Leandro Trossard.

Read More:

Arsenal Predicted Line-up: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Trossard ; Nketiah

Meanwhile, Manchester City are missing a few players of their own, among which the most notable is Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland who is in doubt for the clash after coming off at half-time against Villa. The other injury concern is centre-back, John Stones. 

However, apart from that, City have a fully fit squad to choose from which will be music to Guradiola’s ears.

Manchester City Predicted Line-up: Ederson; Lewis, Dias, Laporte, Ake; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish

Key Players 

Arsenal’s incredible performances this year have been built on combined teamwork rather than individual talent. However, if one had to choose, Bukayo Saka is a strong contender for the best player not only on the team but across the Premier League. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals and provided eight assists (the most in Arsenal’s squad), which shows how important he has been for his team. And he will need to continue these performances if Arsenal are to end their long-time Premier League drought. 

For Manchester City, you can’t leave out a player who scored 25 goals, seven more than his nearest competitor. Erling Haaland has broken scoring records left, right and centre, and with 16 games remaining, he only has to score eight goals to break the all-time highest scoring record by a player in a 38-game season. And Guardiola will need him to be fit for the clash, but if he fails to do so, he has an able deputy in World Cup-winning number nine Julian Alvarez.

Arsenal vs Manchester City predictions 

Arsenal and Manchester City are currently the two most in-form teams in the league. And it is s clash that will play a critical part in determining where the Premier Trophy lands come June. This means that none of the two teams will take anything less than three points. 

However, while Arsenal’s main concern will be to keep their lead, City know the clash could be make or break for them in the Premier League. And with the form that they are in, combined with the home crowd support, Arsenal might be too hot for Manchester City to handle.

FootTheBall predicts a 3-1 win for Arsenal.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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