Manchester City will be looking to reverse a poor run of form at the Emirates Stadium as they look to keep pace with runaway leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premier League. Indeed, the last time the Citizens scored a Premier League goal away at Arsenal came in the 2006/07 season, via American winger DaMarcus Beasley. The Gunners meanwhile are unbeaten in five league encounters and are looking to fire up their challenge for the top four in their opening home fixture of 2012.
Arsene Wenger has a doubt over striker Olivier Giroud, who will undergo a late fitness test after suffering a cut to his knee in the FA Cup draw at Swansea last week. Elsewhere, Lukas Podolski is eyeing a return to the starting XI after coming off the bench to score in South Wales while Abou Diaby could be involved after playing for the club’s development side in the week after three months out with a thigh problem. Theo Walcott, who according to various reports is finally set to extend his contract at the Emirates, looks set to continue in his position as the lone central striker.
Champions Manchester City will be without star striker Sergio Aguero with a torn hamstring while former Gunners midfielder Samir Nasri misses out on a return to London through suspension. Elsewhere, Aleksandar Kolarov is available after recovering from a groin injury but both Yaya and Kolo Toure will miss out after travelling to join up with the Ivory Coast squad for the Africa Cup of Nations. Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Maicon and Micah Richards (both knee) remain absent.