Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview: City aiming to bounce back against Gunners
Photo: Getty Images - Chris Brunskill

Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview: City aiming to bounce back against Gunners

Arsenal face a tough task away to Manchester City on Sunday, but can Unai Emery's men take advantage of City's lacklustre performance against Newcastle to emerge with an unlikely three points?

Ethan Wooding

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium for the late kick-off this Sunday as they look to reduce the gap to Liverpool to two points.

City fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Wednesday as Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie goals succumbed the Citizens to just their fourth league loss of the season, despite Sergio Aguero opening the scoring after just 24 seconds.

Arsenal, however, claimed a 2-1 home win against Cardiff City in an emotional match after the disappearance of the  Bluebirds' record signing Emiliano Sala.

Star strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were amongst the goals as Arsenal look to reclaim their Champions League berth.

City's Response

City's title hopes were dealt a huge blow against Newcastle but Liverpool could only capitalise with a draw against Leicester City extending their lead at the top by five points, not seven.

The draw means the Carabao Cup finalists are still very much in the title race but a win tomorrow is almost a necessity considering their difficult run of upcoming fixtures and Liverpool's blistering form this season.

The pressure is certainly on as City have lost four of their last nine Premier League games, as many defeats as in their previous 72 matches, and dropped two more points than they did for the entirety of last season.

Guardiola, however, isn't panicking:  “If we didn’t have motivation, then we would not be here. We have another final and the Club finished first in the Champions League [group stages] so we are there.

“Of course, it is a process that many times people say we might have ‘the perfect teams’ but every game, we need to improve and see what we can do better," the Spaniard continued.

Aguero, in particular, loves playing the Gunners with seven in his last eleven against them, as City look to make it a fourth straight league win against Arsenal for the first time in 82 years.

Arsenal's Away Record

Against the traditional 'top six' sides, Arsenal are without a win in 20 away games and lost the reverse fixture against the reigning Champions 2-0 in the opening game of the season.

In fact, the Gunners have only won five of their last 19 away league games with only one clean sheet, against Huddersfield Town in May 2018, and are the only team yet to keep an away clean sheet this campaign. 

With their last Premier League away win coming against Bournemouth back at the end of November, Arsenal will need to be at the top of their game to get anything from a vengeful City.

However, since August 20, Guardiola's men have collected only three more points than Unai Emery's side and even lost more Premier League games (4 to 3). 

It isn't a coincidence this has come at a time when Aubameyang has been scoring regularly; he scored his 25th Premier League goal against Cardiff to become the fastest player ever to reach that milestone and will be the Gunners' best bet for a goal on Sunday.

Team News

Benjamin Mendy, the world's most expensive left-back, is a doubt for the game due to a swollen knee and skipper Vincent Kompany is ruled out due to a muscle problem.

Denis Suarez is looking to make his debut following his loan switch from Barcelona but the No. 22 will most likely start on the bench.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will both be assessed before the game but Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin remain out.