A friendly between Man U and Arsenal - It would be all about the line-ups & efforts to avoid injuries
Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden
Key Stat: Ordinarily the key stat that Arsenal haven't tasted defeat against Manchester City in their last six meetings would leap off the page, but this being a friendly match in another country makes that figure almost meaningless. Instead, perhaps the key news, rather than stat, is that the likes of Sergio Aguero, Nolito and Kevin de Bruyne are set to start the match, while Arsenal have left the likes of Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil at home.
Expert Verdict: Normally friendly matches leave little to be desired, as far as punters are concerned. But here Man City have clearly decided to try and get an early season morale boost given their team selection, while Arsene Wenger has been rather more conservative with his roster of players that have made the trip to Sweden.
Don't expect a 100mph, high octane game of football however: this will be more Sunday stroll than Saturday showpiece.
This is the last opportunity for Arsene Wenger to whip his side into shape prior to the Premier League season commencing, so yet again we can expect a strong starting eleven to be selected. This match may only be a friendly, but early season bragging rights are always welcome.
David Ospina (GK), Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Gabriel, Rob Holding (DEF), Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla (MID), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez, Chuba Akpom (ATT).
It has been a rather haphazard pre-season campaign for Manchester City and new boss Pep Guardiola; their one match in the International Champions Cup against their Mancunian rivals United was cancelled without a ball being kicked due to a downpour in Beijing, and they have only played three other friendlies: losing 0-1 to Bayern Munich prior to defeating Borussia Dortmund on penalties (the match finished in a 1-1 draw) and St Johnstone 3-0. In that latter match all of City’s ‘big guns’ features, so we can expect a strong showing from them here.
Joe Hart (GK), Bacary Sagna, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nicolas Otamendi, Eliaquim Mangala (DEF); Fernandinho, Fabian Delph (MID); Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, Nolito, Kele Iheanacho (ATT).
The first fixture between these two took place more than a century ago in 1893 when Woolwich Arsenal welcomed Ardwick.
Today, some 188 meetings later, it is Arsenal who have the upper hand in the head-to-head stakes with 95 wins to 49. There have been 44 draws.
The Gunners have very much dominated in recent times too, avoiding defeat in their last six encounters with City (three wins, three draws).
A friendly match between two teams that finished a handful of points apart in last season’s English Premier League is always going to be a tough one to call, and really it will surely depend on the strength of the starting line-ups that messrs Guardiola and Wenger deploy as to who will come out on top.
Given that this fixture will take place a week from the start of the English football campaign, expect a slow paced, risk free affair as both teams seek to strike an early blow to their opponents’ confidence.
Typically encounters between these two sides are high-scoring affairs: five of the last seven have witnessed over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring. But we expect a different template for this so-called ‘Supermatchen’ in Gothenburg, Sweden. Neither team will want to lose, and none of the players will want to pick up an injury, so a slow tempo, low scoring match will surely follow.
Pep Guardiola cranked up the intensity for his side against St Johnstone, naming his strongest available team, while Arsene Wenger has decided to leave some of his stars that played in Euro 2016 at home. So, backing Manchester City to win in a rather drab affair is probably the best bet here.