Manchester City return to the Etihad Stadium this weekend, as Pep Guardiola welcomes his former right hand man Mikel Arteta to the dugout.
The Citizens will unveil two statues ahead of the game, depicting two club legends in the form of Vincent Kompany and David Silva, though there will be no new players taking the pitch, after Cristiano Ronaldo opted for a move to the red half of Manchester.
City will be hoping to do their talking on the pitch as they take on an Arsenal side without a win in their opening two Premier League fixtures, though the Gunners will be hoping to build on their confidence boosting 6-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion in midweek.
Arsenal’s Troubled Start
Manchester City and Arsenal will kick off this weekend's Premier League football in a game that promises goals. We are just two games into this campaign yet ten goals have been scored in their opening games, though five of these have been scored by the Citizens and four conceded by the Gunners showing very contrasting starts.
The statistics behind this start aren’t exactly encouraging for Arsenal either - creating just 1.5 xG and conceding 4.3, this is the 2nd worst in the league and shows us their poor start to the season is fair.
Arteta seems reluctant to change from the 4-2-3-1 formation he has predominantly used at Arsenal. I expect them to play this system again as they did not change it up for their Carabao Cup victory against West Bromwich Albion. This tells us to expect the same system that has been the catalyst in their poor start. Martin Ødegaard could also make his second Premier League debut for Arteta’s side after signing permanently earlier this week.
City recover from Tottenham blow
City themselves have also had an unstable start, after losing to Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend. They had the better of the play in North London but failed to create any real clear cut chances. City did put things right at the Etihad a week later though, beating newly promoted Norwich City 5-0 in a dominant display. What to expect is very different though, as the commonly referred ‘Pep Roulette’ could strike again.
Although the formation seems fairly certain. I expect to see City line up in the 4-3-3 with Gabriel Jesus leading the line as the frontman will need to find form - it looks increasingly likely that Guardiola will not sign a striker this summer. City seldom need extra attacking quality though as shown last weekend with goals coming from five different scorers. Manchester City also finished as the league’s top scorers last season.
Arsenal have lost their last five games at the Etihad and won just one out of their previous ten visits. It will likely be a very tough time again for the Gunners and the most likely thing Mikel Arteta is to leave Manchester with is a severance package.
I expect a comfortable Manchester City win this weekend Jesus and Riyad Mahrez to score in a 2-0 win. Although if Arsenal are going to cause City problems, it will likely come through their new number 10, Emile Smith-Rowe.