Three Arsenal players who can be match winners versus Manchester City

Aaron Ramsey

A look at how Arsenal can pick up three points versus Manchester City this evening.

The Premier League have saved a cracker for us in the final game before Christmas Day as Arsenal and Manchester City face off on Monday night football.

Arsenal have the opportunity to open up a four-point gap between them and third-place Manchester City at the Emirates this evening.

While Arsène Wenger's side are currently nursing a number of injuries, it's the visitors who may have the key injuries with both Vincent Kompany and Sergio Agüero being out of action of late. Kompany has been ruled out of this game with his calf injury, although Agüero could make his return.

However, Arsenal are good enough to win this evening regardless of whether he plays and here are the three players who couldl make the difference:

1. Aaron Ramsey

Injuries have forced Wenger to play Aaron Ramsey in the middle rather than sticking him out on the right wing and it's worked a treat after only a few games back. Though the midfielder is not as solid as Francis Coquelin in front of the back four, his biggest asset is getting involved in the goals.

Ramsey will fulfill his duties in protecting the Arsenal defence with the likes of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Touré all looking to attack down the centre. But when Arsenal have possession, expect him to either be on the ball or streaming forward.

Vincent Kompany's absence leaves an unorganised Manchester City defence so don't be surprised if Ramsey makes runs into the box that aren't picked up. Touré himself can be a lazy defender around his own penalty area, another plus for the Welsh international. I wouldn't be surprised if Aaron Ramsey got himself on the scoresheet in this one.

2. Mesut Özil

The German playmaker continues to pull the strings for Arsenal; involved in more goals than any other player in the team. With Nicolás Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala likely to be the starting centre-back partnership this evening Arsenal fans should fancy there being a number of holes in the back four for the likes of Özil to exploit.

Mesut Özil can certainly see and pick out a pass so look for Theo Walcott to make a run in between the full-back and centre-back, and Aaron Ramsey to make runs down the middle for the 2014 World Cup winner to pick out. Expect Olivier Giroud to benefit greatly too.

Manchester City's record with and without Vincent Kompany is quite spectacular this season. Manuel Pellegrini's side have conceded only one goal in the eight games he has played, compared to 15 in the eight games he's been sidelined. On top of that, Joe Hart only faces an average of 1.5 shots per game when the club captain is in front of him, compared to 5.5 without.

3. Mathieu Flamini

This game isn't all about Arsenal on the attack. The Gunners also have the likes of Silva, De Bruyne, Touré and maybe even Sergio Agüero to deal with too. Mind you, they haven't been in the best of form – failing to win any of their last four games on the road, and failing to score in the last three.

City were beaten 2-0 at Stoke City in their last away game, after being held 0-0 at bottom of the league Aston Villa, 0-0 at Manchester United and losing 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur.

Even still, Mathieu Flamini may need to play out of his skin this evening. I am expecting the City attack to turn up and the loss of Coquelin could be huge for the hosts. Flamini doesn't compare to his fellow Frenchman but will need to play like him if Arsenal are to keep a clean sheet or at least keep the goals against down to a minimum.

 

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