Predicted XIs for Manchester City v Arsenal - Toure in for City, Walcott in for Arsenal

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

Manchester City host Arsenal in the pick of the Premier League fixtures this weekend with the Gunners looking to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Manchester City will be full of confidence after a good win away at Bayern Munich earlier this week and they could go above Chelsea and Liverpool if they win and other results go their way.

Here are the sides that each team may go with.

Manchester City

GK – Joe Hart

Hart remains a very top class goalkeeper and someone who will be very determined to put in a solid performance in this sort of game. At some point he’ll be starting regularly again in the Premier League.

RB – Pablo Zabaleta

Zabaleta is one of the most experienced defenders that City have available. He did a solid job coming off the bench against Bayern Munich and should keep his place.

CB – Vincent Kompany

Kompany didn’t feature against the German and European champions which means he should be fresh. He’s well suited to dealing with the physical presence of Olivier Giroud.

CB – Joleon Lescott

Lescott has found opportunities hard to come by under Manuel Pellegrini but he stands a great chance of keeping his place and he should be determined to put in a good 90 minutes.

LB – Aleksandar Kolarov

Kolarov will keep his place in the side if Gael Clichy has failed to recover from a foot injury. He’s a very aggressive and forward thinking left-back, able to provide some extra width down the left.

RM – Jesus Navas

Navas has the ability to control the right hand wing. He’s very good with the ball at his feet and he understands the importance of positional awareness and helping others.

CM – Yaya Toure

Toure will be fresh and he should start through the middle. He’s good at either end of the pitch and he should relish the chance to dominate a very talented Arsenal midfield.

CM – Fernandinho

Fernandinho has improved a lot since he first came into the side and like Navas, he understands where to be and when well in the City midfield. Expect to see him dropping off, trying to control the tempo of the game.

LM – David Silva

Silva is arguably the best player City have when it comes to someone who can get on the ball and control possession. Expect to see him drifting inside when there is space for him to do so, with Kolarov overlapping.

ST – Sergio Aguero

Aguero is one of the Premier League’s in form strikers and this is just another chance for him to go up against a very good defence. He drops off well and he also utilises his pace with great precision.

ST – Alvaro Negredo

Negredo should play at the top of the City attack, looking to pin back the Arsenal defence. He’ll be on the hunt for his seventh Premier League goal of the season and he’ll be confident of getting it.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full time scores


GK – Wojciech Szczesny

Szczesny’s performances this season have taken care of a problem for Arsene Wenger because he’s shown his boss and his club that they don’t need to go out and consider buying someone else.

RB – Carl Jenkinson

Jenkinson should continue at right-back with Bacary Sagna out of action with a hamstring problem. He’ll be thoroughly tested and it should be a great experience for the young man.

CB – Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker will most likely try to deal with the physical threat provided by Negredo or someone like Edin Dzeko. He doesn’t have the pace to keep track of Sergio Aguero for 90 minutes.

CB – Laurent Koscielny

The Frenchman has two main jobs in this game if he starts; keep an eye on Aguero and watch for midfield runners. He’s the quicker of the centre backs so he’ll be under pressure to ensure that Mertesacker isn’t exposed.

LB – Kieran Gibbs

Gibbs has been one of Arsenal’s most improved players this season and he should thrive in this game. Defensively he’ll have to be at the top of his game but his pace will make him key on the counter attack.

RM – Theo Walcott

Walcott’s pace means he should start down the right. He didn’t feature against Napoli in the Champions League which means he should be fresh.

DM – Mathieu Flamini

Flamini’s job in this game is to do what he’s been doing for most of the season and break up the play. He reads the game extremely well which gets him into positions where he can take out the opponent’s main attacking threats.

CM – Aaron Ramsey

It will be tempting for Wenger to play Mikel Arteta for a little extra protection but Ramsey has been the best midfielder in the Premier League this season. He’ll have to drop in at times but he has a great ability to make runs from deep positions.

AM – Mesut Ozil

Ozil will play at the top of the Arsenal midfield, pulling the strings and supporting Olivier Giroud. Ozil is at his best when he plays central and City will likely try and push him into wide areas where he’s less effective.

LM – Santi Cazorla

Cazorla may start on the left but don’t expect him to stay there. He’ll move inside when Gibbs has the chance to get forward and he can rotate with Ramsey and Ozil, which will make it difficult for City to pick any of them up.

ST – Olivier Giroud

Giroud is already on seven Premier League goals this season and he’ll be desperate to make it to double figures. He remains the main man when it comes to Arsenal’s strikers.

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch