And that's it from me. I've been James Eagles, thank you for joining me. We must do it again.
But until next time, take care and have a very Merry Christmas.
But, City and especially Sane and de Bruyne were brilliant after the German's equaliser. Sterling also upped his game, and took his goal superbly. That means that they find themselves in second at Christmas.
Let's get this out the way first: Arsenal were cataclysmically bad. But, City really stepped it up in the second half, after spending 40 minutes passing the ball about with no verve.
Unacceptable by Wenger's side, as he stood apoplectic with rage in the technical area. Far too defensive to do anything with the ball after the goal, with several lookig tired and uninterested. The Boxing Day game against West Brom is vital in stopping a dangerous slump. Arsenal fans will be left with the familiar feeling of "How did this happen again?!"
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 ARSENAL
90+5: One last free kick as Fernando pulls back Bellerin.
90+4: Time is all but up, and Arsenal's season in already in tatters.
90: Four added minutes.
88: Elneny is booked for a challenge on Fernando. He argues for a solid 20 odd seconds.
86: Adavnced free-kick for Arsenal.
84: Is there a way through for Arsenal? They've started to push up. Arguably, they should have done that 40 minutes ago and not invited City to play.
84: de Bruyne (OFF), Iheanacho (ON)
82: Walcott tries a cross, but hashes it.
80: Kevin de Bruyne is booked for a late challenge on Gabriel.
78: Oxlade-Chamberlain (OFF), Elneny (ON). Yes, the same Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who came on 13 minutes ago - maybe carrying an injury.
77: CHANCE! Utterly dreadful by Arsenal. City carve them open again, but de Bruyne hits the post.
76: Sane (OFF), Navas (ON)
City have one change remaining.
75: Coquelin (OFF), Giroud (ON)
Arsenal have one change remaining.
Are you the least bit surprised? It's Raheem Sterling, who tries his luck cutting inside. Great pass by de Bruyne, Sterling cuts past Monreal and fires a low strike past Cech. This has beem a dominant performance by City.
72: MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 ARSENAL
70: CHANCE! de Bruyne's shot nicks off of Xhaka and Cech makes a good save.
69: Arsenal looking slightly brighter.
66: Sane is carelessly caught offside.
65: Iwobi (OFF), Oxlade-Chamberlain (ON)
Arsenal have two changes remaining.
64: Corner for City. Arsenal are looking diabolical. Sane is running riot.
62: Arsenal lose the ball once more. Sterling flashes a shot from distance wide.
62: CHANCE! Arsenal lose the ball on halfway, de Bruyne slips in Sane, but Cech denies him a second.
60: This is relentless from City. Arsenal are so deep they might need snorkels.
58: Arsenal survive another wave of advanced City pressure, de Bruyne's cross is held by Cech.
56: Yaya Toure's wayward pass goes out for a goal kick.
55: City starting to click now, and Arsenal are really struggling.
I should point out, Bacary Sagna entered the field of play for Pablo Zabaleta. City have two changes remaining.
City draw level through Sane, and all of Arsenal's hard work is undone straight away.
Ball through from Silva, shades of offside, and he just manages to squeeze the ball past Cech.
47: GOAL FOR MANCHESTER CITY!
So, at the break, Theo Walcott's 5th minute goal is the difference - incredibly.
City are looking tepid, and aren't making any progress on the ball - except in a few stunted flurries. Arsenal meanwhile are looking dangerous on the break, and hold a fine defensive shape. It'll all be sort of pleasing for Arsene Wenger. Crucially, he's seen his side go in ahead at the halfway mark.
HALF-TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 ARSENAL
45+1: Toure wins the header from de Bruyne's corner, but Cech gathers.
45: Corner of City on the stroke of half time. One added minute.
44: Goal for Arsenal, but it's offside. Monreal the man who transgressed beyond the line. Nice finish by Iwobi.
43: Another corner for City. Will Arsenal concede late on in the half
42: CHANCE! From said free-kick, City work it quickly down the right, Gabriel does well to avoid putting Sane's cross into his own net.
41: Sanchez is down, after fouling Otamendi. Potentially a tactical knock.
39: Here come Arsenal once more. Iwobi's cross to the back post finds Ozil, but he can't control. Ball falls to Bellerin who hits it first time. Well over.
38: Silva cynically fouls Ozil and gets his name in Martin Atkinson's book.
36: Taken short, Monreal's cross finds the head of Walcott, but he can't get it on target
35: Corner for Arsenal, who are really looking good on the break.
32: CHANCE! Arsenal start to string some passes together. Xhaka out to Bellerin who loops it over to Walcott, but he volleys well over.
31: Scary for Arsenal. Gabriel tries to punt the ball away, but it richochets off of Bellerin's head and Cech catches.
29: City are starting to raise the tempo. But still, Otamendi is having the most touches it seems - and that's not productive.
28: Another corner and Coquelin puts the ball out.
27: Corner to City. Arsenal just aren't interested in keeping the ball for any length of time.
23: de Bruyne tries hs luck from range. High and very wide.
21: Meanwhile, Arsenal are awfully rash on the ball. Defensively sound though.
21: City holding the ball, as you'd expect. But, no real rush to penetrate thus far.
16: Observation: this is a great game. Won't end 0-1 anyways.
15: Arsenal come forward, Ozil and Sanchez linking up, but the German's cross is nodded out by Otamendi. Clichy is all over the place.
12: City starting to dictate the play, but Arsenal are holding firm. Another de Bruyne cross is inviting, but Cech gathers.
9: Arsenal are really pressing City now, especially Bravo. Sanchez is barking out instructions left, right and centre.
6: CHANCE! City almost back level straight away! A fizzing cross by de Bruyne finds a flying Sterling at the back post, but he manages to miss the target!
It's Theo Walcott! Great pass from Sanchez to take Otamendi out the game and Walcott slips the ball past Bravo! They may have looked shaky very early on, but Arsenal show the first bit of quality in the the game.
5: GOAL FOR ARSENAL!
3: The Belgian fouls Gabriel deep in Arsenal's half. Sloppy from the Gunners early on, misplaced passes aplenty.
2: de Bruyne leads an early City attack, but is marshaled out by Walcott.
KICK OFF - We're underway at the Etihad.
Kick-off is coming up, the tams have emerged from the tunnel.
As for Arsenal, it's very much a standard lineup. Gabriel keeps his place at centre-back, replacing the injured Mustafi. Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez are available from the bench.
With the teams announced, one of the biggest talking points is that Guardiola has left out the underfire John Stones and opted to have Kevin de Bruyne spearhead the attack, instead of Nolito or indeed, Kalechi Iheanacho. That means that Leroy Sane makes a rare start, he impressed in the 1-3 defeat against Chelsea at the start of the month.
|GK||Caludio BRAVO||GK||Petr CECH|
|RB||Pablo ZABALETA||RB||Hector BELLERIN|
|CB||Aleksandar KOLAROV||CB||Laurent KOSCIELNY|
|LB||Gael CLICHY||LB||Nacho MONREAL|
|RM||Leroy SANE||CM||Francis COQUELIN|
|CM||YAYA TOURE||RM||Theo WALCOTT|
|CM||David SILVA||AM||Mesut OZIL|
|LM||Raheem STERLING||LM||Alex IWOBI|
|ST||Kevin DE BRUYNE||ST||Alexis SANCHEZ|
|SUB||Willy CABALLERO||SUB||David OSPINA|
|SUB||Bacary SAGNA||SUB||Rob HOLDING|
|SUB||John STONES||SUB||Mohamed ELNENY|
|SUB||Kalechi IHEANACHO||SUB||Kieran GIBBS|
|SUB||ALEIX GARCIA||SUB||Olivier GIROUD|
Join me from 3:00pm as the teams are announced for live and uninterrupted coverage of Manchester City v Arsenal. You'd be a fool to miss it.
No Sergio Aguero for Manchester City, no Santi Cazorla or Shkodran Mustafi for Arsenal. It's fair to say that both parties are set to struggle without their respective stars, but the Gunners will be buoyed by Sanchez' recent, red hot form. Even more so when you consider City and Guardiola's recent defensive woes - highlighted in the shock 4-2 loss away to Leicester City last weekend.
John Stones still hasn't quite got the look of a defender ready to play at the very highest level in world football, and Claudio Bravo's form may make Joe Hart feel a little bit better about his return from Torino at season's end. Inter's stoic Samir Handanovic may become available in January, could the Chilean find his position under threat just five months after joining from Barcelona?
At the sharp end, can the exciting Kelechi Iheanacho work his magic right from the off? He may be known as Europe's most prolific substitute, but with Aguero still suspended until nearer the New Year, can the 20-year old step up to the challenge? City need him to.
Manchester City: (4-1-4-1) Bravo; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy; Fernando; Sterling, Toure, de Bruyne, Silva; Iheanacho.
Arsenal: (4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Elneny; Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez.
|8.5.16||Barclays Premier League||Manchester City||Arsenal||2-2|
|21.12.15||Barclays Premier League||Arsenal||Manchester City||2-1|
|18.1.15||Barclays Premier League||Manchester City||Arsenal||0-2|
|13.9.14||Barclays Premier League||Arsenal||Manchester City||2-2|
|13.8.14||FA Community Shield||Arsenal||Manchester City||3-0|
A look at the previous encounters shows that this fixture has ticked Arsenal's way in recent years - after City's humiliating, Fernandinho inspired win at the Etihad in December 2013. I'm sure that one manager will be keen for a repeat of that scoreline, the other not so much.
With both teams having endured recent setbacks, much lies on this clash. Both Pep Guardiola's City and Arsene Wenger's Arsenal are nine points adrift of Antonio Conte's storming Chelsea, who recorded their eleventh straight win this season away to Crystal Palace yesterday. With Liverpool and the effervescent Jurgen Klopp looking lively, the title race is truly hotting up, entering one of the most crucial periods of the season.
Last time out, stuttering City returned to winning ways with a rather rudimentary win over the otherwise impressive Watford - thanks to goals from Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva.
As for Arsenal, well, Tuesday night is a game that most would like to eradicate from their minds. 1-0 up away to Everton, courtesy of a deflected Alexis Sanchez free-kick; and then the tides turned dramatically. Goals from Seamus Coleman and Ashley Williams late in each half were enough to see Ronald Koeman claim a first league win since 30 October, and for the Gunners for slump to their first league defeat since the 3-4 loss to Liverpool on the opening day.
Good afternoon and welcome to VAVEL's live coverage of Arsenal's trip to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, I'm your correspondent, James Eagles. 'Twas the game before Christmas, which team can can stir the other, and keep Chelsea from holding a sizeable gap at the top on Christmas Day?