Manchester City’s return to Premier League football after the international break has them welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium. This weekend’s opposition currently sit fourth in the Premier League table after winning three of their four opening games of the season.
City meanwhile, are in 14th after a win, a loss, and a draw in their initial three fixtures. A win for the Blues would place them on level terms with four other Premier League clubs on seven points. But City – having played one fewer game than most other clubs – will have to work hard to make their way back into the top spots.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be at a disadvantage going into this game owing to the loss of Kevin De Bruyne to injury over the international break, making this game crucial to the development of Manchester City’s title campaign over the coming weeks.
As we’ve touched on, Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out entirely for this game, as well as a number of matches in the next few weeks. Striker Sergio Agüero is finally back fit and is set to make his first appearance for the club since June 22nd. Fellow striker Gabriel Jesus has been ruled out for the game, making Agüero’s return all the more crucial.
Portuguese duo Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo have been given the OK by Pep in his press conference, but the news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s COVID-19 diagnosis raises safety issues due to their time spent with the star with the Portuguese camp over the International break. Raheem Sterling will most probably return to the squad after a minor hamstring issue.
For Arsenal, defender Shkodran Mustafi will most likely miss the game with a thigh problem, while star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored twice in Arsenal’s defeat of City last time out, will return to face the Blues after a recent ankle issue. Left-back Kieran Tierney is in a coronavirus isolation period but this could be cut short in order to play against City, reports have rumoured.
Head to Head:
Manchester City’s overall record against the Gunners isn’t positive – they have only won 57 games in the sides’ 200-game history. Recent fixtures make for better reading – City have won seven of the last eight games between the two teams, scoring 20 goals and conceding two.
However, the last game between the two ended in a 2-0 win for Arsenal in last year’s FA Cup semi-final, thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Pep Guardiola’s side have had what we could call a mixed start to the 2020/21 campaign – three wins, one draw, and one defeat.
Just before the international break, Manchester City’s trip to Elland Road resulted in a 1-1 draw against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds. In the preceding Premier League game, the Blues were humbled by Leicester City, who came to the Etihad and won 5-2. In between those two games, City did beat Burnley 3-0 in the Carabao Cup at Turf Moor.
Arsenal have played seven games so far this season – winning six of them. Three of those were against Liverpool – in three different competitions – and it was Liverpool who dealt them their only loss of the season so far. Just before the break, Mikel Arteta’s side defeated Sheffield United 2-1 at the Emirates.
The referee for this game will be Chris Kavanagh. He will be assisted by lines-woman Sian Massey-Ellis and Constantine Hatzidakis. The fourth official will be Anthony Taylor, while Stuart Attwell and Andy Halliday will be in control of the VAR technology at Stockley Park.
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