|Friendships aside, Mikel Arteta must find ways past his former boss and friend as Manchester City chases three points at Arsenal on Sunday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Manchester City has beaten Arsenal every time they stand against the Gunners in the last twelve fixtures; another win on Sunday would set a new record for the longest winning streak against a single opponent.
The friendship of Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta once again comes to the fore as this fixture knocks, but more importantly, with Tottenham beating Luton on Saturday to go top, both sides need a win to usurp Tottenham.
Arsenal’s season has been above average so far, but tasting defeat at RC Lens in the Champions League casts doubts around Mikel Arteta’s game management skills as you wonder why Bukayo Saka had to jump on the plane to France.
The Arsenal star boy hobbled off in last weekend’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth and was a surprise inclusion in the matchday squad on Wednesday, but once again, he limped off in the first half, and word on the street is that he is fit to play against the champions.
Manchester City will be without Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne, but Jack Grealish is fit again, with Bernardo Silva also getting quality minutes at Leipzig in the Champions League. John Stones is back in training, but Guardiola insists he isn’t ready to play.
Manchester City remains the favorites regardless of Arsenal’s form, but at what point will the Gunners begin to get points off their biggest opponents in the league? If Arsenal ever wants to be a threat to the Cityzens, they have to win this game.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland seems to be struggling, and you wonder if that’s due to the absence of De Bruyne, but Phil Foden is on top of his game, and Arsenal must watch out for Julian Alvarez, who is City’s best player so far this season.
Matheus Nunes and Matteo Kovacic will be the preferred men in midfield, with Rodri serving the last of his 3-match ban, but Kalvin Phillips is another name that could help out in that regard. Defensively, City is more than solid and would relish the battle with Arsenal’s forwards.
The fitness of Saka is a big talking point, but Thomas Partey is back in the squad. A midfield pairing of Declan Rice and Partey is what most Arsenal fans want to see, but will Arteta allow them? Kai Havertz continues to struggle and would frustrate fans if he made the starting XI; however, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli are both fit and ready to go.