Premier League leaders Manchester City take on in-form Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Sunday’s evening kick-off.
City had previously been fantastic so far this season and swept all comers with their scintillating football. Roberto Mancini’s men were beaten by Chelsea on Monday night, their first loss of the season, and it has been a tough couple of weeks for City. They were knocked out of the Champions League and followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield. Mancini is confident his side still have the ability to go and achieve great things this season. The Italian welcomes back Micah Richards following an injury that ruled him out of the loss to Chelsea. Richards has been involved in a training ground bust-up with Mario Balotelli, but both have reconciled and are in contention for starting places against Arsenal. Pablo Zabaleta will have to cover at left back with injury to Aleksandar Kolarov and suspension for Gael Clichy ruling them out.
Arsenal’s form has recovered significantly from their poor start to the season and they are now back among the big guns in the league. Captain Robin van Persie has 33 goals in 32 games in 2011 and will look to add another one to his tally against City. Van Persie’s wonder strike separated Arsenal and Everton last weekend and Arsene Wenger’s side won 1-0 in a dominant performance. The Gunners are without Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos due to injury and Thomas Vermaelen is set to deputise at left-back once again. Wenger’s side won 3-0 away at Eastlands last season and are looking for a similar result this term.
Samir Nasri faces up to the travelling band of Arsenal fans for the second time since his move from North London to Manchester. Gunners fans will be eager to pick up a victory over their former player and with their attacking form, they could terrorise the City defence. However, Arsenal’s defensive woes should be torn apart by City’s stars of Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli in a win for Mancini’s side.
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