Champions League spots at stake as City host Arsenal
Champions League spots at stake as City host Arsenal

Manchester City host Arsenal in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

The Gunners are three points ahead of their hosts in third place in the table going into the match.

A top-three place will assure Arsenal of a spot in the Champions League group stage next season.

Whilst second-placed Tottenham Hotspur are only three points ahead of the Gunners ahead of their match with Southampton this afternoon.

Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Norwich City yesterday keeps the pressure on both Arsenal and Manchester City in deciding who will finish in the top four.

Manchester City now only have a one point cushion over Manchester United. Defeat to Arsenal would seriously dent their top four ambitions.

And would bring into question Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to rest players in the 4-2 defeat against Southampton last Sunday ahead of their midweek Champions League semi-final second leg tie defeat against Real Madrid.

Head-to-Head

The Gunners are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches against City, winning the last two (W2 D2).

Manchester City have lost 23 Premier League games against Arsenal, more than against any other side.

City’s win percentage against Arsenal in the Premier League is 16%, their lowest against any opponent in the history of the competition.

The Managers

Manuel Pellegrini

Maybe Arsene plays the way he played in the last two games against us,” said Pellegrini.

“I expect us to recover our attacking potential, which was our problem against Real Madrid. I hope that on Sunday we can continue being a scoring team.”

Arsene Wenger

“Sunday’s game is still important, even if Leicester City are champions today and we are second best,” Wenger said.

It is still a very important game because part of the responsibility of being professional is to prepare the future. The future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game.

Our target now is to secure a position in the Champions League next year. If possible, to get second place or at least secure third place. On Sunday we can achieve that. We still have two games, and if we win those two games we will be alright.”

Key Players

Sergio Aguero has 23 Premier League goals this season and is looking to repeat his 2014/15 feat of being the Golden Boot winner. He trails Harry Kane by two goals going into today’s matches, and is now one goal behind Jamie Vardy who scored twice in Leicester City’s 3-1 win over Everton yesterday.

Aguero became the second fastest player to reach 100 Premier League this season and will be looking to extend his five match scoring streak in home matches today.

Danny Welbeck’s winning goal against Norwich City last Saturday helped him equal his Premier League goal tally from last season for Arsenal (4), but this season he has played only 10 games this season compared to 25 in the last campaign

Mesut Ozil provided his 14th and 15th assists of the season in the reverse fixture against Manchester City in December. Since then, he has just three assists in 18 Premier League games.

Team News

Manchester City

Vincent Kompany is set to miss the match after suffering a groin injury at Real Madrid in midweek.

David Silva (hamstring), Pablo Zabaleta (calf) and Aleksandar Kolarov (knock) are also out for the hosts.

Samir Nasri is though in contention to face his former club after being ineligible in the Champions League.

Provisional squad: Hart, Caballero, Sagna, Mangala, Otamendi, Demichelis, Clichy, Toure, Fernando, Fernandinho, Delph, De Bruyne, Sterling, Nasri, Navas, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho.

Arsenal 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has suffered a fresh knee injury in training which will keep him out for six to eight weeks.

Per Mertesacker will also not play again this season after picking up a hamstring problem in the win over Norwich City last weekend.

Santi Cazorla could start for the first time since November while fellow midfielders Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are also fit.

Provisional squad: Ospina, Cech, Monreal, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Koscielny, Bellerin, Ramsey, Elneny, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Rosicky, Arteta, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.

Match Officials
Referee:
Anthony Taylor Assistants: L Betts, S Burt Fourth Official: M Jones

Prediction

Arsenal have lost just one of their last eight Premier League away matches, but five of those have been draws (W2). Expect another draw today, with a 2-2 score-line.