Arsenal will face Manchester City at the Emirates in what could turn out to be an important clash for the Gunners in their Champions League qualification. Arsene Wenger’s side would want to improve upon their recent performances and a defeat here will leave them vulnerable to losing out on the Champions League spots, for which the competition is really getting fierce.
Arsenal were particularly bad against West Brom in their last Premier League game. I expect Arsene to make a few changes to the starting XI from the previous games. Below is Arsenal’s predicted lineup.
David Ospina is expected to start between the sticks in absence of Petr Cech who has failed to recover for this key clash after limping off against West Brom and is still nursing a calf injury.
Arsenal have failed to keep it tight at the back, with different players struggling in different games. With all four first choice defenders available, Arsenal are expected to field a strong backline.
Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi will form the centre-back pairing in the heart of the heart of the defence. Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal will start on either side. Both the fullbacks have struggled recently and will need to be on their toes as they will be up against an excellent Manchester City attack. It will be interesting to see if Arsenal will be able to withstand a strong offensive fight from Pep Guardiola’s side.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will probably form the pivot in the centre of the midfield. The duo of Xhaka and Francis Coquelin too have been lacklustre in their recent performances and will have to up their game against City and I expect Arsene to finally crack the whip on Coquelin.
Alexis Sanchez will face a late fitness test but is expected to start for the North London outfit. The 28-year-old played twice in the week for Chile with a slight ankle injury. Mesut Ozil is fit and should start in a central attacking midfield role, while Sanchez is likely to start on the left with Theo Walcott playing on the right. Ozil played in Germany’s 4-1 win over Azerbaijan recently.
Arsenal could exploit Manchester City through their left where both City right-backs Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are still nursing injuries. The midfield battles will certainly decide the outcome of the game.
Danny Welbeck is expected to lead the attack force and will be deployed as the lone striker. There is also a chance Arsene might opt for Iwobi to start on the left and Sanchez be deployed as the only striker. There is yet another possibility of Olivier Giroud starting up front for the Gunners. Lucas Perez is unavailable for Arsenal as he is out with an injury.