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While many critics have lauded Arsenal’s positive start, after only four games it is important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. Based on recent performances, it would be fair to say Arsenal definitely have the potential to grab a victory, but it will prove a massive challenge to grab a win at City’s home ground. I have no doubt that we will have a better gauge on where Arsenal lies in terms of their title credentials after the final whistle.
With so many options available, it will be interesting to see what starting eleven Arsene names. Looking at the back, in recent weeks he has opted to stay with German Per Mertersacker. You feel in this clash however that Koscielny would be the better pick, particularly with Aguero making a potential return off the bench. Mertesacker has obviously put in some great performances over recent weeks, but it is hard to envision the big German being comfortable with the speed of Manchester City.
On the topic of defence, the match should also prove to be a massive test for youngsters Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Vito Mannone. All three players have fared well against lesser opposition in recent weeks, but obviously City is a whole other kettle of fish. Hopefully the high-profile nature of the match does not get to them and they play their natural games.
The other obvious changes Arsene can make are up front. We saw Gervinho occupy the sole striker position last week and performed extremely well grabbing a brace. The Ivorian has been one of the in-form players for Arsenal so far this season and it is hard to think he will be relinquished of a starting spot. The same can also be said for Lukas Podolski. It would be fair to say then that either Giroud or Chamberlain will be sitting on the bench, with the latter the more likely in my personal opinion.
Lastly, there is midfield and the area of the pitch where this match is likely to be won or lost. The trio of Diaby, Cazorla and Arteta will be integral to any hopes of a victory for Arsenal and an area of the pitch where I feel Arsenal could be clearly superior. In order to do this however, it is imperative Diaby does not replicate his performance against Montpellier where he lost possession cheaply on a number of occasions and instead rediscover the form he showed against Liverpool.
on the City match…
I am very ambitious and I know that before the game starts. It will tell us a lot about our quality. How we handle the big games will decide how well we do in the championship. That is why it is an interesting weekend for us.
I have no doubt about the desire and hunger of my squad. It will just tell you how strong we are at the moment.
I believe we are quite strong but we have some room for improvement. All is not perfect but the signs we are giving are very good and very strong.
The hunger is massive in this squad. They want to do well. They are focused. They want to win. We want to continue to improve because we have many new players. It is a big test to see how strong we are.
on Emmanuel Frimpong…
He is a bit in front of Jack [Wilshere] on match fitness. He has worked a very, very long time and he is ready.
on Rosicky and Sagna…
Sagna is one week away from full training, and Rosicky two.
Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
Gervinho Cazorla Podolski
Arsenal – Santi Cazorla – The little Spaniard centers around a majority of Arsenal’s attacking plays and has so far created the most scoring chances than any other player in the Premier League with 14.
Manchester City - Carlos Tevez – The Argentine forward has experienced somewhat of a revival after his antics last season and looks as fit and dangerous as ever. Expect him to cause Arsenal problems at the back, particularly if Mertesacker starts.
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Arsenal to win:
Bet365, William Hill & Skybet are offering the best odds of 7/2 for the Gunners to win away
Bet365 are offering the best odds of 3/1
Manchester City to win:
Williamhill are offering the best odds of 4/5 for City to take the fixture at home.
allArsenal’s Special Fiver Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet365 pick: Win: Arsenal - 7/2
**So far we have won 2 out our 5 bets so far this season – but we’re up over £15 from the £5 we started with – full stats to come soon**
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League away games (W6 D3 L1).
The Gunners defence has been resurgent under Steve Bould’s tutorship, and they have allowed only 10 shots on target from their opponents with City behind them on 11.
It is a risky bet with a lot of statistics going against the Gunners (see below), but Arsenal are a different team from last season and they have the ability to beat a City side that haven’t yet hit top gear.
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