Date: 23rd April 2010 at 8:14pm
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VMC teams up again with City legend Gary Owen as The Blues head to Laandaarn Taarn and a 4th place ESPN televised six pointer against The Gooners…

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:

‘…Arsenal are always dangerous – they are a good team, with good players and a good manager. Such teams are always dangerous. In England there are four or five teams who are strong. Arsene Wenger is still a top manager, and Arsenal are still a top team.

‘It is important Emmanuel only concentrates on Manchester City on Saturday. It is important there is no repeat of those situations.’

Arsene Wenger:

‘I am stubborn, but not stupid – sometimes in the heat of the moment you can do things that are not right. It is not only Adebayor, but also Patrick Vieira and Kolo Touré – we will welcome them all back.

‘We have always had the same line of conduct – to respect what they have done for us and we want our fans to respect that as well and encourage our team. No matter what happened in the first game, it is important that we have a positive attitude and encourage our players. I believe more than ever tomorrow we will need the crowd to be behind us. I expect everybody to behave well.’

Kolo Toure:

‘The game against them last September was really difficult for Ade but he needs to show more intelligence because we all know that what he did was not the best reaction – and as a friend I’ve told him that. I’ve told him he must be calm and not do anything provocative. Ade is a professional player and must just focus on the game and give everything to help the team win.’

Micah Richards:

‘I’ve got something called tendonsis. It’s hard to describe, but it basically means I’ve got little blood vessels in my knee which can flare up from time to time. One week I might be fine but the next I could feel quite sore and I would have problems bending my knee. I’m probably at the starting point of where Roque Santa Cruz is now. Roque’s had a number of problems with his knees and really suffered, but identifying the problem early on means I can take preventative steps to stop things worsening and fingers crossed, it won’t be a problem for me in the future.’

Gary Owen’s View:

‘Looking at the race for the Champions League place, the problem with Villa is they are a very good team but they’ve drawn too many.

‘Tottenham have been a bit inconsistent but they’ve got the firepower and some good strikers there. Their form has been very similar to ours. When you expect them to get beat they don’t. When you expect them to win they don’t! I don’t expect the situation to be settled by the time Spurs come to us. The whole situation could change again this weekend.

‘I would be the most surprised man in the world if the race for fourth didn’t go down to the last match of the season when Spurs face Burnley away and City face West Ham away.

‘This weekend,it’s game on again. I’d rather be playing Arsenal now when we are trying to get fourth spot than playing them when we’ve been at the wrong end of the table! It’s all good for us. Battling for a Champions League spot. I’d say any City fan would have taken that at the start of the season.’

VMC City Video Link: Mancio Arsenal Press Conference

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal’s seismic injury list cannot have helped in their end of season run in. Almunia, Arshavin, Gallas, Vermaelen, Denilson, Djourou, Fabregas, Ramsey and Gibbs will not face The Citizens.

Robin Van Persie is likely to start.

Player to watch: Van Persie and Co

Gary’s View:

‘I saw Van Persie come back against Tottenham. He looked the difference. With Cesc Fabregas out, I sense Wenger might start with Van Persie on Saturday. If he doesn’t, he’ll have him ready to come on at some stage.

‘Theo Walcott meanwhile is the type of player who’ll be a world beater or a let down. You don’t know what you are going to get with him. But with his pace he can be dangerous as he showed against Barçelona.

‘All through the team, they know how to pass the ball and if anything you could argue that maybe they play too much football and try to stroll it in!

Manchester City Team News:

City’s decks are fairly clear.

Sylvinho remains a doubt with a calf problem whereas M Johnson, Petrov and Lescott are all knacked. Micah Richards might make a surprise start.

Mancio could possibly decide to ring the changes and give a start to SWP who looked lively in his cameo appearance against the rags.

Player to watch: Tevez and Co

Gary’s View:

‘Carlos Tevez is of course our goalscorer but Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips, with his family connections both owe us a few.

‘With Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and of course Emmanuel Adebayor going back there it’s going to be charged up.

‘Mancini might well start with Shaun. He will be looking at them in training and maybe considering some changes.’

Match Facts & Stats

City’s 10 Game Mini Season Results So Far:
P: 6, W:4, L:2, F:16 A:6 Pts:12 out of 18, GD:+10

Both Sides Top Scorers (all competitions):
Tévez:28, Adebayor:13, Fabregas:19, Bendtner:12.

Follow The Action Live In The VMC Match Day Forum:
Arsenal v City – Sat 24th April – KO 5.30pm – Match Day Thread

The Arsenal have won their last 5 home league fixtures.

City haven’t lost 2 consecutive League games all season.

The Blues last won away at Arsenal in wait for it, 1975.

SWP has scored twice against The Gooners in this season’s campaign.

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean, Wirral
City’s favourite ref of the season takes charge of his SIXTH City game of the campaign, and to date we’ve not lost a game under his astute control. 4 of those games took place at Blackburn (win), Birmingham (draw), Villa (draw), and the memorable stuffing of Chelsea…He also bossed City’s League Cup Semi-Final first leg win over the rags… Here’s hoping he does a job for us again in London…Sending off two more home players would be just the ticket..! Current season record: Games:40, Yellow Cards:139 Red Cards:7Gary’s View..: ‘The only consistency of referees this season has been their inconsistency! Now we are at the business end of the season, the fact is that one refereeing decision could decide your destiny… One thing I would say is that I don’t think there is one stat out there that backs up the saying ‘these things even themselves out.’ – I don’t believe in that at all!’

Match Prediction:

Gary’s View:‘Arsene Wenger is under pressure having not won a trophy in five years and has asked his team for a response…It’s no good playing great football without having something to show for it…Their disappointing result against Tottenham really killed their season…The Wigan result was one of an Arsenal team we are not used to seeing. Normally when they get in front it’s a question of how many they are going to score! Wenger has personal pride and knows that he will want to put one back on us after being beaten twice by us this season…He will still also want to get as many points as he can. Arsenal are not going to give up and they are not out of it yet until it’s mathematically impossible…
Having said that, Roberto will have our boys wound up and ready to go knowing what is necessary. It’s never an easy place to go but we need to beat them. Our players need to be up for this because there will be no hiding place at The Emirates Stadium. If our players play anything like the City support they will get on Saturday, then they won’t get beat… Our team is as good as Arsenal’s and is as good as anybody’s on their day. They’ve proved it at Chelsea, proved it 4 times against United this season and beaten Arsenal twice. We are an equal for anybody but we have to show it again on Saturday…The result? It could be anything! We know how City and Arsenal have been in the past few weeks. I know this sounds as though I am sitting on the fence, but if you look at Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Tottenham and City, very often you can’t pick between them as it always depends who wants it more. It’s going to be very tight… Of course I want City to win but when I look at the two teams there’s next to nothing between them. We are capable of beating them and so are they of us. We could end up cancelling each other out which is what happened against United save for the last ten seconds… If you are a betting man I think you’d go for a draw. I cannot choose between Arsenal and City and again it’s going to come down to who wants it more.’

Next Fixtures:

H: Aston Villa, Sat 01 May 15h00 BST
H: Spurs, Wed 05 May 20h00 BST
A: West Ham, Sun 09 May 15h00 BST


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