Arsenal host Manchester City this Sunday as they aim to get back their winning mentality. The Gunners have lost four of their last five Premier league games and Pep Guardiola’s men will definitely not be an easy opponent to turn things on the right track.
On the other hand, a win against them and it could trigger a massive boost for the North-London side. And given the Gunners’ record against the Manchester outfit, the Gunners can surely aim high. Arsenal have lost just one of the 19 previous home fixtures against City.
While the reverse fixture ended with Arsenal on the losing side, City haven’t managed to do the double over Arsenal since 1975-76 season. However, on an individual basis, Wenger’s record against Pep Guardiola isn’t very encouraging as the Frenchman has managed just two wins in the last nine competitive fixtures.
Of course, the clouded future of the club manager only increases the mental burden of the players. And no matter how much the boss stresses on the fact that his future isn’t important for a good performance by the players, it always is.
Strongest Arsenal XI vs Manchester City
The Gunners will hugely miss the services of Premier League veteran Petr Cech. The shot-stopper limped off in Arsenal’s last defeat against West Bromwich Albion and isn’t expected to feature this week. He is likely to miss the midweek game against West Ham United too. David Ospina will take his place as a replacement and will expect to have a better game this time.
Wenger will have all his defenders to choose from. And we expect the French manager to stick with almost the same back line that started against Albion, except for Nacho Monreal. The Spaniard was badly exposed by Raheem Sterling’s pace the last time they met and the younger Kieran Gibbs should take his place now. The other flank should be taken by Hector Bellerin.
Apart from them, Wenger is likely to stick with his regular defensive duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi.
The two pivots are expected to be Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, After Aaron Ramsey’s dismal performance last game, we don’t expect the boss to put his trust on him again. And now with Mesut Ozil returning to the side from his injury, Chamberlain should drop deep.
Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez should start on the left flank. He has always been a trouble for the City defence in the recent past and is expected to inflict some more. The other flank should see Theo Walcott. After a silent interlull, he should be back to prove his mettle. Danny Welbeck should start as the centre forward.