Manchester City v Arsenal - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 14th December 2013 at 12:45. Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Odds: Manchester City 5/6, Draw 14/5, Arsenal 18/5

Last season: 1-1

Preview & injury news

Manchester City's 100% home record will face its biggest test yet as table toppers Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium with a five points cushion over the chasing pack, with City a point further back. If Arsenal were to leave City with something it would certainly indicate they are the real deal this season, but City will see this as a real opportunity to show their title credentials this season by getting within three points of the leaders.

Going into this game, City will be in a very confident mood having come from two goals down to defeat Bayern Munich in their own backyard, even if there was a mathematical mistake when it came to working out the margin they needed to win by to top the group. Aside from winning all the time at home in the league, City have managed to pick up four points from their last two away games, so there are signs that they're becoming a bit more consistent this season.

Arsenal made it through an incredibly difficult group in the Champions but lost 2-0 to Napoli in the process, though a couple of players who may start in this game were rested in Naples. In the league since their loss to Manchester United, Arsenal have picked up 10 points from their last 12, having been pegged back by Everton last time out at the Emirates.

On the injury front, for Manchester City Micah Richards is unlikely to be available for selection after picking up a hamstring injury at the Allianz Arena in midweek. Gael Clichy should be fit enough to face his former club after struggling with an ankle problem, whilst Stevan Jovetic could be part of the squad after a calf problem. This game is likely to come a week too soon for Mateja Nastasic who has a calf problem.

For Arsenal, Lukas Podolski could return to the squad after a relatively lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, and it is for that very injury that means Bacary Sagna will miss out for the Gunners. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still recovering from a knee problem and is scheduled to make his return to action in a round a month's time.  

Key stats

Sergio Aguero is Manchester City's top scorer in the league this season with 12 goals.

Aaron Ramsey is Arsenal's top scorer in the league this season with eight goals.

Manchester City had 45% possession in their last league match, a 1-1 draw away to Southampton.

Arsenal had 44% possession in their last league match, a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

5 players to watch

Samir Nasri - Nasri has been in terrific form for City so far this season under Manuel Pellegrini, and tends to be involved in a lot of their promising attacking moves. Also he is up against his former club, and the departure a couple of seasons ago wasn't exactly well received. It would not be surprising to see him to play a key role in the outcome of this game.

Theo Walcott - With City playing so high up the field, Arsene Wenger may try to counteract that with Theo Walcott playing out wide. Not only could he be a massive threat on the counter attack, but he does have the pace to get in and behind the City back four.

Sergio Aguero - For all of their talent, it is hard not to include Aguero in this segment every week just because he is in very good form, and was rested in midweek. He'll be raring to go and add to his 12 Premier League goals he has to his name so far this season.

Aaron Ramsey - Was a late substitute in Naples so he should be well rested for the trip to City. He is still the in form man for Arsenal so it wouldn't be surprising if he was to come up with either a key goal or pass on Saturday lunchtime.

Yaya Toure - Like Aguero, it's hard to mention City without mentioning Toure, especially in a game that is likely to be hotly contested in the middle of the park. Toure will be using his power as his main asset whilst the Arsenal midfielders will be using their movement and energy to overcome City. Which one will prevail?

Last time they met

Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City, Premier League, January 2013

An eventful game at the Emirates Stadium which saw Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny sent off in the 10th minute after he brought down Edin Dzeko, with Dzeko's subsequent penalty saved. James Milner gave City the lead with a brilliant strike ten minutes later before Edin Dzeko tapped home the rebound from a Carlos Tevez shot. Vincent Kompany was sent off for Manchester City late on in the game for a challenge on Jack Wilshere where the defender appeared to have got the ball, but referee Mike Dean ruled it to be a dangerous challenge.

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