It is the clash of the heavyweights at the weekend, as Arsenal welcome defending Premier League champions Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners’ unbeaten start to the 2023/24 season came to an end on Tuesday when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to RC Lens away in the Champions League group stage on matchday two. Mikel Arteta’s side don’t have much time to lick their wounds and must quickly shift focus towards their Premier League duties on Sunday.
Knowing Man City’s might, Arteta and co. will need to be at their best to get a positive result at home and send a statement across the division.
Arsenal Team News
Bukayo Saka is an injury concern for Arsenal having suffered another injury scare earlier this week. He was forced off with a suspected hamstring problem in the second half of Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to RC Lens, which has put a question mark on the winger’s availability on Sunday. The England international will undergo scans on Thursday to assess the severity of his injury, with fears that he could miss the highly-anticipated clash against Man City.
Elsewhere, Gabriel Martinelli still remains out with a hamstring injury, but in a positive injury update, Thomas Partey made his matchday squad return against Lens after a month out with a groin injury and he is likely to be involved against Pep Guardiola’s side on Sunday.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Manchester City (4-3-3)
David Raya has ousted Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No.1 this season, and the Spaniard is expected to start in goal on Sunday. He will have to perform at the top level to keep a clean sheet against Man City.
In front of Ramsdale, Arsenal are likely to shape up in a 4-3-3 formation, with William Saliba partnering Gabriel Magalhaes in central defence. Saliba and Gabriel have to be switched on from minute one until last to keep Erling Haaland quiet at the weekend.
Oleksandr Zinchenko picks himself at left-back, while Ben White replaces Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back from the Lens defeat.
Arsenal’s chances of getting all three points against City will become higher if they win the midfield battles. So, Arteta may opt to add more solidity and steel to Arsenal’s midfield by handing Thomas Partey a start.
Partey, who was an unused substitute against Lens following his return from a month-long injury layoff, will act as a sitter and protect the backline, allowing the No.8s Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard the freedom to push forward and create opportunities in the final third.
Kai Havertz will drop to the bench having failed to impress against Lens in midweek. Jorginho and Fabio Vieira will need to be content with roles on the bench as well.
If Bukayo Saka misses out with a suspected hamstring issue, Arteta could name Gabriel Jesus on the right flank. Having played as a right-sided forward on many occasions for Man City, Jesus could essay the role with great effect and haunt his former employers at the Emirates Stadium.
With Martinelli injured, Leandro Trossard looks set to start on the left flank. Joining Jesus and Trossard up front will be Eddie Nketiah, whose movement and pace could cause problems for the City backline.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.