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Arsenal vs. Manchester City

Ashburton Grove

13th January, 2013


On Sky

Arsenal v Citeh Match Preview

Arsenal welcome champions Manchester City (there's a sentence I didn't see myself typing ten years ago) to North London knowing both teams require nothing less than a victory.

City currently trail United by 7 points, with Arsenal 5 points behind their rivals (in more ways than one) Spurs. Indeed, the gap for both teams might be bigger come kickoff.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger believes beating Manchester City could give his team the lift they need to become a force at the top of the table again.

'We know this a vital period for us," the manager said. "We are on a positive run. We still lack a bit of confidence in some situations and I feel our team will be very dangerous if we have full confidence.

"We are not far from it but we need another positive result in a big game to be completely confident and believe in our ability to come back."

Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini wants to reverse his unflattering record in N5, 'He added: 'To play against Arsenal in London is very, very difficult because they play very well there.

'But we changed many things last year and it is a time now to change this situation.

'Also it is difficult because we miss important players but we want to do a good job on Sunday.

'We are disappointed because we need our fans away. We have fantastic fans, fantastic support. We are sorry for this.

'I don't know the real situation. I read it in the newspaper. It is clear for us our fans are very important.'

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal will give Olivier Giroud a late fitness test after he suffered a deep gash on his knee in the F.A. Cup draw with Swansea. Abou Diaby and Andre Santos came through an U-21 match earlier this week, along with Carl Jenkinson. Gervinho is on international duty with Ivory Coast.

Lukas Fabianski (ankle) is Arsenal's only other absentee, Emmanuel Frimpong is suspended following his red card in the U-21s on Wednesday.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone; Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, A.Santos, Arteta, Coquelin, Diaby, Wilshere, S.Cazorla, Rosicky, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Podolski, Walcott, Giroud.

Player to watch: Jack Wilshere

If Giroud isn't fit enough to start, Arsenal will opt for Walcott upfront. If they do so, they'll need to reactivate the high octane pressing game against City, because they will need to rely on fast transitions of play to service Walcott.

Jack is at his best on the front foot I feel, pressing opposing defenders high up the pitch- a tactic that brought Mikel Arteta his winning goal against City last season. If Arsenal are to win, they need to boss the midfield and Wilshere will be key to that battle.

Manchester City Team News:

City lose Yaya Toure to the Ivory Coast's African Nations quest with brother Kolo. Samir Nasri is suspended and Sergio Aguer's calf injury keeps him out.

Aleksander Kolarov (knee) returns, but Micah Richards (knee), Jack Rodwell (knee) and Maicon (knee0 are all unavailable.

Manchester City (from): Hart, Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Kolarov; Rekik, Barry, Milner, Garcia, Silva, Lopes, Suarez, Sinclair, Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli.

Player to watch: David Silva

If Wilshere and Cazorla are responsible for igniting Arsenal's attacking performance from midfield, then City's David Silva is charged with much the same task.

Silva is adept at finding space where there seems to be none and picking passes that elude even the most perceptive of radars. City will probably be cautious and look to hit Arsenal on the break and Silva's qualities will be central to their success.

Match Facts & Stats

Manchester City havem't scored at the Grove since April 2007, when DaMarcus Beasley registered in a 3-1 defeat for City.

There have only been 5 goals in the last 6 games between the two teams.

Arsenal have missed their last three penalties against City.

There have been four red cards in the last five fixtures between the two.

City have conceded more goals from outside the area than any other side in the league.

The two teams have played one another 174 times. Arsenal have won 89, City 45 with 40 draws.

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Mike Dean. Excellent.

Match Prediction:

I'm expecting another tight game with the two sides inseparable ultimately. 1-1 draw, Dzeko for City, Cazorla for Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal play Swansea City at home in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup on Wednesday.

Manchester City are at home to Fulham next Saturday.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 11 2013

Time: 1:40PM

Your Comments

Game was spoiled by a moment of stupidity from Koscielny. Good 2nd half performance, would have been a great finish to the game if Giroud had scored in the 70th minute off a free header in the 6 yard box.
I'm gonna get a punching bag with Koscielny's stupid face on it. I figure i'll get so much use out of it I'll be able to take up pro boxing, maybe I'll even box for the world's. At least that way he can say he's helped someone challenge for a title.
Arsenales F.C
Vemaelen-Mertesacker or Koscielny-Mertesacker. We've got 3 other fast defenders ffs.
Arsenales F.C
What an immense game Wilshere had. He's almost back to his best. Could use a goal.
Wyn Mills
So anyone still think that Koschitney is the bees knees? The guy is a useless defender and has no place at our glorious club. When was the last time we kept a clean sheet with him playing? I honestly cannot remember it has been so long.
Villa away was the last time Will. He's played 3 games since.
Little Dutch
I think we let you off with 0-2. Could have had a bag full if we had bothered ..... little Gooner passion evident, dont think you won a 50/50 all game and our second goal was a perfect example of why you would be better in the Women's League.
LD, yeh and what a devastating attack is Aston Villa !! A really awesome sheet of clean that was !
My hopes weren't high for this game. We haven't exactly been irrepressible of late and I'm not sure that even with eleven on the pitch that we would have got much out of it. But having said that it wasn't just a spirited performance in the second half there was some good football in there too. Difficult to judge the attack in this game as we were short but it's that balance between our forward line and midfield that has to work a little better. If we do find it it might come a little too late this season though.
This was a must win for Citeh and we fully deserved to win. What you need is a top striker and you will just have to pay for one or two.
A moment of stupidity doesn't take away Koscielny's quality. He had a great last season, and I don't see how one mistake like this takes away one season of consistent work. We cannot expect to him to replicate the same form unless he plays consistently. A Knee jerk reaction, if we're questioning his overall quality as a defender.
Prits, how many howlers can you take? The cup final v Birmingham, own goal panic at Anfield, howler in 4-3 loss at Ewood, howler for Torres goal vs Chelsea, howler for own goal v Chelsea, howler of a rugby tackle vs Citeh. And those are just the ones I can remember. This guy is not good enough, we almost never keep a clean sheet when he plays. We conceded nearly 50 goals in the premier league last season. Not sure how that qualifies as top quality. Top quality is conceding under 20 in a season. Quality is conceding less than 30. 40-50 is not so good.
@ prits - yeah, I agree. I haven't seen the game yet, was there a golden chance for Walcott in the first half as well? I feel there is over-anxiety in the squad, manifested particularly in our finishing. The atmosphere around Arsenal is so febrile, I think it's getting to the players. They want to show they are good enough and they're trying too hard. And Kos is quality, no question.
Apologies, not had time to do a match report (I generally struggle when a game isn't on a Saturday!) but have cobbled together some thoughs here
Little Dutch
Theo had a chance cleared off the line by Lescott in the 2nd half, it was good defending coz Theo did everything right with that finish. Cazorla has forgotten his shooting boots somewhere, he can only aim them into the stands. His form off late has been poor, which is understandable given it's his 1st season. The others don't have the confidence to take shots - rather attempt to pass the ball into a crowded penalty box.
The difference for me (playing with 10 men notwithstanding) was the absence of Arteta. You lost the midfield battle without him and that left Walcott completely isolated (can't recall him doing anything aside from the cleared shot). Wilshere was doing all he could to drive you on, but with a less than fit Diaby and an off form Cazorla, he couldn't make an impact.
Wenger made a fatal mistake by subbing off Ox instead of Diaby who is clearly short of match fitness and touch, after Koschitney got a red.

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