When and where:
Saturday 26th August 2006, City of Manchester Stadium.
We have yet to score in our two outings this season, and didn't really threaten Portsmouth too much on Wednesday night. Confidence does not appear to be high and worryingly it seems that we are struggling to shake off the form from the end of last season.
Arsenal rescued a point in their opening game at the new Emirates Stadium but had a relatively comfortable passage through their Champions League qualifier, without really excelling.
Thatcher's suspension rules him out so it maybe that Distin moves to the left, although I would be loathe to split the Dunne-Distin partnership up. Cole, Hamman and Trabelsi are not deemed ready enough to play, whilst Andreas Isaksson is going to be out for six weeks following an ankle operation. Bernardo Corradi is available again following his suspension.
For Arsenal, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry will start, whilst Tomas Rosicky could come into the side due to injuries to Ljungberg and Reyes.
Keys to the game:
We need to put Arsenal under pressure. Generally sides have done well getting at the Gunners as opposed to trying to outplay them. An obvious one is the need to stop Henry, but they are assembling an impressive supporting cast around him to relieve some of the pressure. Pearce said we need to get 'cuter', and he is right to an extent in that we need to be smarter and not as one-dimensional as we appeared to be against Portsmouth.
No former Blues in the Arsenal squad, but former Gunner Paul Dickov will probably start up front for us.
Why City will win:
We have a good record in the 5.15 Saturday kick off games (most notably defeating Chelsea) and the side will come together following the problems of this week.
Why City will lose:
Home Premiership record versus Arsenal - Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 8, and in that time I don't think we've really threatened to come close to taking the points.
City 0 Arsenal 2.