Game : Manchester City (14) vs Arsenal (12)
Competition : English Premier League
Venue : City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Date : Saturday, 22 November 2008
Time : 15.00 UK time
Mark Hughes’ Manchester City welcome Arsene Wenger’s Gunners to Eastlands on Saturday, with both sides desperately looking for a morale boosting win.
City drew 2-2 with Hull City last week, and have picked up just one point from their last four Premiership games. They are 12th in the table with fourteen points, but one needs to remember that Blackburn, who are in 18th place, are just one point behind. City will be without the services of Joe Hart, who had his ankle injured against Hull. Kasper Schmeichel will take his place in goal, and skipper Richard Dunne will return from his one game suspension. Swiss youngster Gelson Fernandes came off the pitch in his country’s international on Wednesday, and he will undergo a checkup to see whether he is fit for Saturday. With Theo Walcott dislocating his shoulder, left back Javier Garrido will be feeling a little more relieved as the Spaniard can be made to look pedestrian against speedy wingers.
Arsenal shockingly lost 0-2 to Aston Villa at home last week, with Gael Clichy scoring an own goal and Gabriel Agbonlahor adding a late second for Villa. The scoreline could have been more worse had Manuel Almunia not saved Ashley Young’s penalty. Wenger has emphasised the need for consistency, something that has been missing from Arsenal’s campaign this season. Skipper William Gallas has also hit out at his team mates, hinting that all is not well at the Emirates. Cesc Fabregas is suspended for this game after picking up a fifth yellow card last week. Ivorian Kolo Toure’s calf strain will see him join Walcott on the sidelines. Bacary Sagna is definitely out, but Robin Van Persie returns after serving his three game suspension. Carlos Vela’s jetlag will ensure he does not feature, and Emmanuel Eboue is also a doubt.
The corresponding fixture last season was won 3-1 by Arsenal, with Adebayor scoring twice. A loss for Arsenal could well and truly signal the end of their title hopes. Arsenal to win this 2-1, with Van Persie, Nasri and Robinho scoring.