Manchester City v Arsenal: Premier League Match Preview
Manchester City host Arsenal in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon (2.15pm kick-off UK time).
The Citizens’ go into today’s fixtures with a five point lead in the Premier League table.
Manchester City have made the equal best start to a Premier League season after 10 games, collecting 28 points (won nine, drawn one) with a goal difference of+29.
The two previous sides with 28 points at this point (Chelsea in 2005 and City themselves in 2011) both went on to win the title.
Pep Guardiola’s side could equal the club league record of nine consecutive victories within a single season, set in February 1947 in the second tier.
The Citizens are now unbeaten in 22 games in all competitions (won 18, drawn four) – the longest run without defeat in their history
At this stage last season, Arsenal were in second place in the Premier League table on goal difference with 23 points. They currently lie fifth, nine points off the lead held by Manchester City
The Gunners have picked up only four points away from home in the Premier League this season (W1, L3, D1).
The Gunners have though come from behind to win three Premier League games this season, more than they did in the whole of the 2016-17 (two season).
Arsenal though could lose four of their opening six away matches of a top-flight season for the first time since 1981.
They have won two of their last 26 Premier League away matches against clubs that finished in the top six last season (D8, L16).
Manchester City have only won one of their last nine matches against Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L4), that victory coming in this fixture last season (2-1).
Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium in January 2015 remains the Gunners’ only away Premier League victory against the ‘big six’ since the start of the 2014/15 season (D7 L9).
Arsenal have scored at least two goals in eight of the last 10 fixtures, with City failing to keep a clean sheet during that period.
A 24th loss against Arsenal would equal City’s record number of Premier League defeats against any side. Chelsea have beaten them 24 times.
Sergio Aguero has scored five goals in his last seven matches for Manchester City against Arsenal in all competitions.
Raheem Sterling has scored nine goals in all competitions in 2017-18; the most of any Manchester City player, while only Harry Kane (13) and Romelu Lukaku (11) have netted more among Premier League players.
Leroy Sane has had a hand in 11 goals in his last seven Premier League games for Manchester City (six goals, five assists).
Alexis Sanchez’s proposed move to Manchester City fell through on transfer deadline day in August. Whether City come back for him in January is uncertain. Sanchez’s performance today will be very closely scrutinised.
Aaron Ramsey’s winner against Swansea City last Saturday made him the 11th player to score 50 or more goals for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.
No player has created more goalscoring opportunities in the Premier League this season than Mesut Ozil (30, level with Kevin De Bruyne).
Long-term absentee Benjamin Mendy is still recovering from anterior cruciate ligament damage.
Skipper Vincent Kompany is a doubt due to a calf problem
Sead Kolasinac is likely to be available after a hip injury.
Danny Welbeck (groin) and Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) will be out until after the International break.
Guardiola has won four of five home matches against Arsene Wenger in all competitions (D1).
This is Guardiola had to say on whether his team can match Arsenal’s 2004 Invincibles and go through the season unbeaten.
“Arsene’s record belongs to him, we are not going to break it,” he said. “He has to be calm. It was an exceptional team, something fantastic.
“We don’t want to break this record, but we want to play good and beat them on Sunday.
“People say we are unbeatable – someone will beat us.
“How we react is how you become a good team.
“So we are five points ahead – how many games left? How many points.?
“84 points to play for and five in front.
“If you say we will play until next May the we way we play like we have in last two months, I’d say ‘Wow – we have a good chance.
“But who is going to show me we will not get injuries? Even for the best team it’s hard to maintain. Many cirucmstances, the opponents will make it tricky and we have to solve it.
“May is the best month to talk about it. But with 84 to play…”
Arsene Wenger is the only manager to beat Pep Guardiola while he has managed Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
“I wouldn’t like to come out on [our approach] but of course we will try to play our game. We will not hide,” the Arsenal manager said.
“When we go there, we want to defend well but you cannot go there and only be focused on just defending. We want as well to play, have the ball and create dangerous situations. The best way to defend sometimes is to attack.
“When you want to play football, you have to accept the risk and you have to play. If you want to play football, when you walk out on the pitch you have to accept the gamble and the risk. It is part of the game.
“After, you have to rate the risk. Is it a bigger risk only to defend than to attack if a team is very strong in attack? Maybe it is a bigger risk only to defend.”
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Stuart Burt
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
A 2-2 draw.