A rejuvenated City travel to North London on Saturday to take on Arsenal in the 12:30 kick-off, ending a run of tough games that has seen them perform admirably and (more importantly) take a few surprise points.
Looking at it this way, there is no real pressure on Marco Silva to get a result at the Emirates. Last weekend’s win over Liverpool has put City within touch of relegation rivals Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and even Leicester. Yet given the Tigers’ recent displays, supporters could be forgiven for being cautiously optimistic on Saturday.
City’s opponents have, in contrast, lost their last two Premier League fixtures and as a consequence effectively bowed out of the title race. Arsenal fans will no doubt be expecting a response, and anything other than a win on Saturday afternoon will feel like a disaster. This is especially true given that their next game after City is in Bavaria against perennial Champions League bogey team Bayern Munich.
The club confirmed on Thursday that Abel Hernandez and Michael Dawson will both miss Saturday’s fixture due to injuries. This means that Andrea Ranocchia, who won several plaudits following his outstanding performance in the victory over Liverpool, will keep his place alongside Harry Maguire. Who will replace Hernandez up front is a more difficult question – Mbokani and Diomande are both available for selection if needed. Ahmed Elmohamady is also back in the squad following his return from the AFCON.
Elmohamady’s international teammate Mohamed Elneny is available for selection for the Gunners. Elsewhere Arsene Wenger is hopeful that right-back Hector Bellerin will be fit for Saturday’s game – the Spaniard will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability.
In seven appearances at the Emirates in all competitions, City have lost four, drawn two and won just the singular match, which was of course in their debut Premier League season back in 2008. Indeed, this is City’s only triumph over Arsenal over the last century. If you’re feeling optimistic, the bookies will offer you 11/1 on the Tigers making it two wins over Arsenal in 100 years. The home side are priced at 3/10, while the draw is available at 9/2.
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