CONFIRMED: Manchester City & Arsenal line-ups - Silva and Walcott both start

Here is how Manchester City and Arsenal will line-up for this afternoon’s match at the Etihad Stadium:

Manchester City starting XI: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri, Silva, Negredo, Aguero

Subs: Hart, Lescott, Kolarov, Garcia, Navas, Milner, Dzeko

Arsenal starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud

Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Gnabry, Bendtner

Arsenal feature in what is arguably the game of the weekend for the second consecutive week. And while they failed to win at home to Everton last time out, failing to lose could be the order of the day this time.

Manchester City at home almost invariably leads to one outcome – a complete humbling for the opposition. I said when Tottenham came to town that would not be the case, and I was proved well-and-truly wrong, but I cannot see Arsenal taking the pounding their North London rivals did.

This will be close, with both sides knowing a point will not be a terrible result, but simultaneously accepting that a win will lay down a huge marker approaching the festive period.

City now have what Arsenal did last season – the “We’ve beaten Bayern” factor – and given that they welcome back a number of players who missed that match, it will be interesting to see if the Blues can carry that form into today’s early kick-off.

Having lost in Manchester on their last visit, Arsene Wenger’s men will be hoping for a change of fortune. They will know, above all else, that a good few weeks could see them well ahead of their nearest rivals even before the clock chimes for 2014.

What do you think the result will be this afternoon?

image: © Free-ers

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