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

To be played on Saturday 29th March 2014 at 17:30. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Odds: Arsenal 11/4, Draw 13/5, Manchester City 11/10

Last season: 0-2

Preview & injury news

It has been a poor period for Arsenal as it seems the dream of winning their first title in 10 years has now ended, unless they overcome Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium this weekend - then there may be some hope, even if it is slim. The Gunners sit in fourth in the Premier League table three points behind this weekend's opponents having played two games fewer - but they may well be looking over their shoulders as they are six points ahead of Everton having played a game more, so they really could do with getting something from this game. It would be some turnaround if Arsenal could take all three points this weekend having been hammered by Chelsea last weekend, and then held at home by Swansea City, when a Mathieu Flamini own goal gave the Swans a 2-2 draw.

Ever since their return to Premier League action this month, City have looked in very good form and are now odds on to regain the title with their destiny firmly in their hands having won with 10 men away to Hull City, thumped Fulham 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium and then comprehensively outplayed Manchester United to leave Old Trafford with all three points in midweek. It means they are in third, three points off the top with two games in hand.

On the injury front, Arsenal are without Laurent Koscielny with a calf problem meaning that Thomas Vermalen will continue alongside Per Mertesacker at centre-back. Midfield duo Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey are sidelined with a broken foot and a thigh injury respectively. Mesut Ozil is not expected to return until the middle of next month as he recovers from a hamstring problem whilst Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are continuing their recovery from long-term knee ligament injuries.

For Manchester City, their most notable injury worry is Sergio Aguero who is a doubt with a hamstring injury whilst Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic both miss out with knee problems.

Key stats

Here are the two side's top scorers in the league this season: 

Yaya Touré Man City MF 17 28 2,420
Sergio Agüero Man City FW 15 17 1,199
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 13 29 2,513
Edin Dzeko Man City FW 10 22 1,330
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal MF 8 18 1,495
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 5 13 858

Their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Manchester City 57.41 29
Arsenal 56.06 31

And the amount of clean sheets the side's have kept this season:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Manchester City 13 29
Arsenal 13 31

5 players to watch

Thomas Vermalen - With no Koscielny, it's Vermalen's responsibility to keep City quiet along with Per Mertesacker. It could be a big opening to the game if City come flying out of the traps like they did at Old Trafford, so Vermalen and the rest of Arsenal's back line are going to be in for a tough workout. 

Yaya Toure - Toure has been in terrific form again, and Arsenal simply can not afford to give the Ivorian the freedom in the middle of the park. This is a man who has notched up 20 goals so far this season, which gives any defence a big headache, not to mention that City are prolific going forward. A big player in a big game, Toure is bound to have a big say in the outcome of this one.

Mathieu Flamini - Flamini will be hoping to put his own goal against Swansea City behind him as he is likely to have a busy evening dealing with Toure and Fernandinho in the middle of the park. If Flamini can have a good game and put himself about then the home side will stand a chance of winning the all-important midfield battle.

Edin Dzeko - Dzeko seems to have found form at the right time for City. Aguero has been sidelined and Alvaro Negredo hasn't found form since injury, so it's just as well that the Bosnian has found the net in big away games recently which has helped put City in pole position in the title race. 

Olivier Giroud - Giroud is likely to try and play up against Martin Demichelis this weekend. Demichelis has looked uncertain in the City defence and the Arsenal forward may well fancy his chances of getting in and behind the visiting back line if he gets at the Argentine. Giroud is likely to get his chances and he must be clinical.

Earlier on in the season

Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal, December 2013

A terrific football match for the neutral, not so for the visitors who arrived in Manchester as the league leaders. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring for the home side within a quarter of an hour but Theo Walcott hit back for the Gunners on the half hour mark. They weren't level for long as Alvaro Negredo restored City's lead by turning Pablo Zabaleta's cross. City stretched their lead after half time after Fernandinho curled home from 25 yards. Walcott got his second as the visitors threatened to come back into the game with a well taken finish just after the hour mark, but David Silva restored the home side's two goal cushion three minutes later. Fernandinho got his second goal through a defensive mix-up whilst Per Mertesacker pulled a goal back with an injury time header. That wasn't the last goal of the game, as the scoring was eventually rounded off by Yaya Toure from the penalty spot after James Milner was brought down by Wojciech Szczesny. 

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