Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Saturday August 25 2007
Although tomorrow will be a testing game for The Gunners, Arsene Wenger's team will be somewhat relieved to face the in-form Man City.
Although City wont come to The Grove with the intention of playing exciting, attacking football, they wont come to kick lumps out of us, unlike most of our visitors. And hosts for that matter!
You can call Sven a lot of things, but a thuggish tactician is not one of them.
Expect the Swede to deploy a 5 man midfield, and try to keep the ball more than his team managed in the Manchester Derby last week.
Arsene Wenger has already confirmed his intention to play two strikers, so Van Persie will be a happy man, Sven will not.
Gilberto Silva might be rushed back to help contain the exciting Geovanni in midfield.
Arsene Wenger heaped praise on new Citeh Gaffer Sven-Goran Eriksson'Maybe he [Sven] wants to show you how good he is. He is a very good manager.
'I know all his signings and they have done well.
'Sometimes you take a risk buying more than three players because you could disturb the unity of the team but they have clicked super-quickly.'
The former England manager can see some similarities between his approach and Arsene Wenger's to managment: 'Arsenal's policy is to buy young players and let them grow into a team and to some extent that is what we have done here.
'The players I have bought are already good but their best is still to come.
'I didn't want to buy any players who were well into their 30s and perhaps had done their best days.'
Good news for Arsenal fans. Adebayor and Gilberto Silva both return for Arsenal, while Denilson and Eduardo Da Silva came through their return from injury with no problems.
There is also some bad news, Gallas, as I'm sure you're all aware, will be out for at least 3 weeks with a groin injury. Jens Lehmann will also be out for a similar length of time with an Achilles problem.
Tomas Rosicky and Manu Eboue are also both still missing.
A strike partner will bring out the very best in Van Persie, and the probable lack of bullish tactics will also do the Dutchman no end of good.
Despite the excellent start to the season made by Kasper Schmeichel, I think Robin will have a superb game. His first Arsenal hat-trick? We'll see.
Rolando Bianchi will return to the City line-up after an injury to Valeri Bojinov ruled the striker out for 5 months.
Stephen Ireland is also likely to return after having the Spurs (squits).
Could I have picked any other player after his start to the season?
He'll be a constant threat coming from midfield, and his lethal shot can be deadly, just ask Citeh's Manchester neighbours.
Chris Foy will over see the battle of the brains. He'll not take any mouth from the players, nor will he allow the managers to get too heated before he sends them packing.
Most people are predicting a cagey affair, not me. I know City will play a defensive game, but with the movement of Eduardo and the lack of Thuggery, I'm predicting a comfortable 3-1 win for The Arsenal.
Date:Saturday August 25 2007
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|1. Man City||14||9||2||3||16||29|
|2. Leicester City||14||8||5||1||8||29|
|3. Man Utd||14||8||4||2||10||28|
|6. Crystal Palace||14||7||1||6||5||22|
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