Date: 12th January 2013 at 8:28pm
Written by:

On Sky

Come Sunday night, will the Stretford Gap be Four, Five, Seven, Nine or Ten Points..? City face The Unpredictables in a must win revenge mission

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:
‘We should go our own way at Arsenal. We can’t think about United or other teams. We don’t see the table in this moment but at the end of February…It is difficult because we are missing important players but we want to do a good job on Sunday. Yes, we have had a lot of injuries this year. Last year we were really lucky, this year maybe not. I don’t think we deserve to be seven points behind but now we can do nothing, only start to win.

We have a difficult game now, because we play against Arsenal, but the season is long and is very difficult. We have another 17 games. I think we can recover these points.

Arsene Wenger:
‘Ideally you want ticket prices to be as low as possible. But on the other hand the only way we can pay the wages and compete without any external help is the ticket prices because it is our main income. Therefore we are in this situation where, of course, the prices are high…I am really worried they are high for our supporters. For the visitors, it only happens once per year so that is less of a concern.

‘I think Manchester City are in a situation where a draw will not be good enough, and we are in the same situation. The fact that both teams have to absolutely go for a win promises a more open game. When you are in that title situation, you don’t want to drop more points because it can be damaging for your chances. The championship is still very open. When you watch the games, no team today goes into a Premier League game and is sure to win it, therefore I believe every team can drop points. It is much more open than people think it is.’

Arsenal Team News:

Andre Santos
Gervinho- International duty

Olivier Giroud

Arsenal from: Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Walcott, Mannone, Giroud, Ramsey, Koscielny, Rosicky, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Diaby.

Player to watch: Wojciech Szczesny

Key roles pending for two young goalkeepers this weekend. 22 year old Szczesny, a self confessed big fan of Joe Hart had a rough last year but has a big chance now to establish himself for the North Londoners for many years to come. With both sides fine dominators of possession Arsenal v City could come down to the most resolute defence wins it.

Manchester City Team News:

Micah Richards
Jack Rodwell
John Guidetti
Sergio Aguero
Samir Nasri – Suspended
Yaya TourĂ© – International duty
Kolo TourĂ© – International duty
Abdul Razak- International duty

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

Player to watch: Joe Hart

Time to take a look at City’s goalkeeper for the first time in a VMC Preview this season. Big Joe makes his 200th City appearance this weekend. Already a City legend, Harty and his defence have been the bedrock of City’s success under Mancio. There`s been the expected raft of brilliant saves this season but also the odd blip caused by an apparent sudden failure to boss his box and become complacently statuesque, yet City have still conceded only 19 league goals which is fewer than any other Premier League side. The Blues will need a trademark big input from Joe at Arsenal. He’s already revealed this week his anger at losing to Arsenal last Easter.

Match Facts & Stats

City have not won at The Arsenal in 27 league games stretching back to 1975.

Arsenal have won 9 league matches this season which is their lowest number at this stage since 1999 when City were playing in the third tier of English football.

The Gooners have scored 40 league goals going into welcoming The Citizens. Get this. That’s more goals than when Robin Van Persie was with them last January!

City haven’t lost a game this season in which they’ve scored first.

League: 44 City Wins, 40 Draws, 85 Arsenal Wins
League Cup: 2 City Wins, 1 Draw, 5 Arsenal Wins
FA Cup: 1 City Win, 2 Arsenal Wins
Other Cup: 1 Arsenal Win
Total: 47 City Wins, 41 Draws, 93 Arsenal Wins

Tu 29Nov 2011 Arsenal 0 – 1 Man City LC
Su 18Dec 2011 Man City 1 – 0 Arsenal PL
Su 08Apr 2012 Arsenal 1 – 0 Man City PL
Su 23Sep 2012 Man City 1 – 1 Arsenal PL

BETTING: Arsenal 17/10 Draw 12/5 City 8/5 Racing Post Soccerbase

TV COVERAGE:Sky Sports 1


CLASSIC CITY TUBE: Arsenal v Manchester City, Apr 17th 1991

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean from the Wirrall, 4th Official M Oliver -Last Season: Mo 15Aug 2011 Man City 4 – 0 Swansea, We 21Dec 2011 Man City 3 – 0 Stoke, Sa 04Feb 2012 Man City 3 – 0 Fulham, We 21Mar 2012 Man City 2 – 1 Chelsea, Su 13May 2012 Man City 3 – 2 QPR -This Season: Su 23Sep 2012 Man City 1 – 1 Arsenal, Sa 22Dec 2012 Man City 1 – 0 Reading -2011/12: 43 Games, 146 Yellows, 5 Reds -2012/2013: 21 Games, 76 Yellows, 2 Reds.

Match Prediction:

Johnny On The Spot:
Much will depend upon which Arsenal turn up for this crucial fixture. City will be taking on a side capable of tearing the opposition to shreds whilst at the same time carrying a fragility that ships goals. Planet Blue still pinches itself collectively at the thought of arriving at a top flight game as English champions. Long gone are the days of the annual Highbury football lesson…The Blues continue to run with a high absenteeism list but this, combined with a sharp reduction in fixture commitments has resulted in a settled side and a forward line scoring more goals. Ten in the last three games to be precise. Yet Arsenal have won all of their last five league fixtures. The word around Carrington is that Mancio’s men, in particular the team’s more vocal stalwarts are eager for revenge following the outpouring of glee that engulfed The Emirates last Easter when Arteta’s late goal saw the football world and the pisspoor Fred Done bookmakers write City off as title contenders. Maybe we’ll see two footballing sides pass each other to death this weekend. That happened in Swansea last week and ultimately ended up going goal crazy. This is very difficult to call but I’m banking on City carrying the edge fuelled by what is at stake and the result of the rags shootout with the mickeys earlier in the day. Lest we forget, Chelski are creeping up on the rails, too. Arsenal 0 City 1

Next Fixtures:

all times East Manchester
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Sa/Su 26/27Jan Crystal Palace or Stoke City, A, FAC4
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL
Su 03Feb 16h00 Liverpool, The Etihad, PL
Sa 09Feb 17h30 Southampton, St Mary’s, PL


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