Arsenal prediction

England defender Micah Richards could return from a niggling knee problem to Manchester City's side to face Arsenal.

New signing Felipe Caicedo is not expected to arrive until next week, so Darius Vassell and Daniel Sturridge should continue up front.

Arsenal will be without winger Tomas Rosicky because of a hamstring injury while striker Robin van Persie (thigh) is back in training but not match fit.

Denilson (hamstring) and Johan Djourou (groin) are also out for the Gunners.


Manchester City (from): Hart, Jihai, Onuoha, Dunne, Richards, Corluka, Ball, Hamann, Fernandes, Petrov, Vassell, Elano, Mpenza, Ireland, Sturridge, Geovanni, Schmeichel, Garrido, Etuhu.

Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Senderos, Clichy, Diaby, Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, Eduardo, Lehmann, J Hoyte, Gilberto, Bendtner, Walcott, Traore, Lansbury.

>>BBC Sport.

The start of a tricky run of three games that could shape the final stretch of the season begins tomorrow with a visit from Arsenal, who will be (briefly at least) looking to go back to the top of the Premier League.

Arsenal have suprised a few people this season, as they were not widely expected to perhaps be keeping pace with both United and Chelsea this year given their comparative inexperience, but all credit to them as they have been a model of consistency this season and even without some key players will be a huge threat.

They have rebounded from the Carling Cup defeat to Tottenham by swiping aside Newcastle in back to back victories and do look to have a real desire about them this season as they seek to reclaim a Premier League crown which has headed to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge in recent times.

We are of course defending our unbeaten streak at home and we have been tight defensively for the most part at home, something which will be tested today. Creativity has been a problem for ourselves of late, but if Elano is recalled (as I expect) he may find less attention than he has done against some lesser sides so he will need to step up and be a real factor.

If we take a point from this game I'm sure most people will walk out of the ground pleased enough, but Arsenal know the pressure is on to take all three points and I have a feeling the unbeaten run will come to an end, by a scoreline of 2-1.

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