Pep Guardiola faces his former assistant Mikel Arteta as Manchester City look to get back to winning ways against Arsenal in the Premier League.
Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Key Stat: Defeat to Leicester last month was Manchester City's first home league defeat of 2020.
Expert Verdict: Manchester City were thrashed by Leicester City in their last home game and only took a point at Leeds in their last league game. Big improvements are needed as they prepare to face an Arsenal team who beat them in the FA Cup semi-final last season. Still, Pep Guardiola does not often stay down for long. They can take this opportunity to bounce back.
Sergio Aguero is back in training but may have to be patient as he looks to get back to top shape. Ilkay Gundogan is available again, while Gabriel Jesus could return too. Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne are expected to recover from minor injuries that ruled them out of their recent international matches.
Raheem Sterling – Opened the scoring when these two last met in the league and he has three goals in his last two matches too.
Phil Foden – Made a goalscoring start to this season and, after being left out of the England squad, will be hungry to prove himself once more.
Kevin de Bruyne – The Belgian playmaker and 2019-20 PFA Player of the Year has started this season with goals and assists once again.
Manchester City started the season by beating Wolves 3-1, but a 5-2 loss to Leicester and a 1-1 draw with Leeds have already put the brakes on their Premier League campaign. In between, however, they did beat Burnley 3-0 in the League Cup – Raheem Sterling scoring twice and Ferran Torres netting the other. Sterling also scored City’s opener against Leeds.
Defenders:Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy
Midfielders:Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan
Forwards:Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling
Shkodran Mustafi is expected back in training but not in the first team, while Pablo Mari is in a similar position. Emile Smith-Rowe is available again, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be fit after a minor ankle injury. Arsenal are still waiting on Kieran Tierney’s availability on medical grounds.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Scored in the FA Cup win against City last season and the striker will be looking to get in behind again in this game.
Alexandre Lacazette – Opened the scoring in three consecutive league games to start the season in good attacking form.
Willian – Has enjoyed some big performances against City before and the summer signing has plenty to offer to the Arsenal attack.
Arsenal bounced back from defeat to Liverpool in the league by beating the Reds on penalties in the Carabao Cup before a 2-1 victory at home to Sheffield United last time out. Bukayo Saka and Nicholas Pepe scored Arsenal’s goals in a 2-1 home win.
Defenders:Rob Holding, David Luiz, Sead Kolasinac
Midfielders:Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka
Forwards:Willian, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Manchester City won seven consecutive matches against Arsenal but suffered a 2-0 defeat against them in the FA Cup semi-final when they last met. Their previous loss had also been an FA Cup semi-final back in 2017. In the league last season, City won both games 3-0 – the latter, at the Etihad, marking their first game back after the season was paused. Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden scored in City’s home win. Here are the results of the last five matches:
Jul 18, 2020: Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City
Jun 17, 2020: Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal
Dec 15, 2019: Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
Feb 03, 2019: Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal
Aug 12, 2018: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City have had a wobbly start to the 2020-21 season to say the least, with five points dropped already.
Three of those were lost in a heavy defeat to Leicester in which they came up short tactically – much like they did when Mikel Arteta out-thought his former boss, Pep Guardiola, in the FA Cup semi-final last season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the man to profit in that game, but City have strengthened their defence since then with Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake signing too.
The Blues are also getting back to full strength on the injury front too, and with Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne set to be fit, that is a big boost.
Both men will be key to City’s chances going forward and so the biggest question will be if they can shore up defensively.
Arsenal have not been massively convincing and lost to Liverpool in their last away league game. That result shows what City need if they are to keep pace with the Reds this season.
City have been chastened by their start to the season so far, but a win in this game will be an excellent way to restart their campaign.
Manchester City can be backed at 19/40 to win this game against Arsenal.
With the hosts wobbly at the back already this season, both teams to score has been set at a best price of 3/5 with Betway.
This fixture usually attracts goals – or City ones at least – and over 2.5 goals will return 17/40 with Betway.
Raheem Sterling is 11/10 with Betway and 888sport to score at any time, and Kevin de Bruyne – on set pieces – is a best price of 13/8 with 888sport.
Manchester City are not yet at their best but they do repeatedly find ways to win these matches and they can do the same in this match too.