Manchester City v Arsenal - Five key battles

Manchester City Etihad 2

Manchester City take on Arsenal in one of the picks of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.

The last time Arsenal were in Manchester for a Premier League game, they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Gunners have a real chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table while Manchester City will be looking to close the gap, capitalising on that strong win against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Here are five key battles to keep an eye on.

Vincent Kompany v Olivier Giroud

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kompany come back into the starting line-up for this game after he was benched for the Bayern Munich match.

It will be a great physical match up to watch because Giroud will do his very best to try and pin back the City defence, creating more room and space for Arsenal’s creative midfielders to exploit.

Kompany’s job will be to ensure that the back four doesn’t drop too deep.

Aleksandar Kolarov v Theo Walcott

If Walcott starts then City will need to be very wary of his pace on the counter attack down the right hand side.

Kolarov is likely to be matched up against him and he’ll have to be at his very best to contain Walcott. Walcott is at his best when he’s allowed to run into space so Kolarov has to be strict, pushing Alcott into areas where he’s less effective.

Yaya Toure v Mathieu Flamini

Flamini will be the player who sits and protects the defence with Toure one of the main dangers, making deep runs from the City midfield.

Flamini has to be strong and attempt to stop the ball getting to Toure before he has a chance to stamp his influence on the game. Whoever wins this little individual battle is likely to be on the winning side after 90 minutes.

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Fernandinho v Mesut Ozil

In contrast the main attacking influence in Arsenal’s midfield is going to be their star German Mesut Ozil.

He will try and play on a little bit of poor discipline from Fernandinho, attempting to pull him out of position as well as exploiting the gaps he leaves when he goes forward with the City attack.

Ozil is the one Arsenal player who can turn this game on its head very quickly and he only needs a few seconds of time and space to set up a chance.

Sergio Aguero v Laurent Koscielny

Aguero will be the main threat up front from City and there is no way that Arsenal will allow him to drift onto Per Mertesacker.

That means plenty of confrontations up against Laurent Koscielny in the Arsenal back four. The Frenchman needs to know when to drop off and contain Aguero and when to press him to try and win the ball, without damaging the shape of the defence.

It will be a cracking match to watch.

image: © geetarchurchy

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