|Manchester City rammed five past Arsenal earlier in the season, will they enjoy same free pass when they meet on New Year's day at the Emirates? (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Arsenal vs Manchester CityEmirates Stadium1:30pm
Happy New Year everyone from wherever you’re reading from and welcome to the first predictions of 2022, it’s the hardest job in football journalism but someone has to do it… Shall we?
It’s a very difficult start for the Gunners but they can take solace in the fact that they don’t play Manchester City everyday and they can pick up things up from there but football is weird and it serves the best of surprises, are we about to see another one as early as day one of the new year?
Manchester City won 53 times in 2021, that’s a record and they don’t look like stopping, the champions surged past teams and have won the last ten league games, it is what it is as well know when City get in their feelings like this, there’s no stopping them.
The squad depth available to Pep Guardiola is sensational, he could afford to bench Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez last time out against Brentford and didn’t even miss them with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings to deliver their latest victory.
Covid reared heads in the Wolves team so Arsenal haven’t played since they dismissed Norwich on Boxing Day, City will always be a different ball game but that win over the Canaries ensured that the Gunners finish in the top four at the end of the year for the first time since 2017.
Manchester City will change things a bit, Kyle Walker is still unavailable and Rodri is rumored to be down to Covid, Joao Cancelo survived attack from hoodlums so he should be available but Zinchenko is not available for selection.
Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta who is recovering from Covid, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has been released to Gabon but Albert Sambi Lokonga and Cedric Soares are available for selection, Takeihro Tomiyasu will have to face late fitness test.
Arsenal haven’t even scored against City in any of their last four, they are currently on a losing streak that dates back to 2017 and that is the longest they have endured against a single team in their history, can they change things soon?
A lot has changed since the 5-0 drubbing Arsenal suffered in the hands of City earlier in the season, most of the boys that started are not even good enough for the Arsenal bench this time around and that counts for something.
Arsenal would still be fourth regardless of the score line elsewhere at least until others play their outstanding games, everything points into the direction of a City win and it would be hard to see any other result in this one.
Arsenal’s kids will entertain City, they will show glimpses of the recipe that got Arsenal to fourth on the table and that’s enough solace, but where do they go from the Emirates after the visit of Manchester City on new year’s day?