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A look ahead to Arsenal

Emmanuel Adebayor challenges William Gallas during City's victory over Arsenal earlier this season. (Picture from getty images)
Emmanuel Adebayor challenges William Gallas during City's victory over Arsenal earlier this season. (Picture from getty images)

It is funny how a week can quickly change the mood in football. 

Following the victory over Birmingham, suddenly things looked rosy. Three big wins on the bounce and Tottenham's exit from the FA Cup would signal an end of season collapse for our main rival for the fourth position. The North Londoners though shrugged off their 'lightweight' tag to hit back with a pair of victories against Arsenal and Chelsea, whilst we fell to a last minute defeat in the derby.

Advantage Tottenham then.

Even with only four games remaining, still expect plenty of twists and turns along the way and even a worse case scenario this weekend will not rule us out.

Arsenal's current form provides us with a fantastic opportunity we don't usually find when travelling to The Emirates (and formerly Highbury). Our away return over the years has been pitiful (our last win was back in 1975), but whilst Arsenal have exited the Champions League and are now out of contention for the title, we have everything to play for.

Our away form under Roberto Mancini though has certainly picked up, and we have posted a good return the past couple of months - an observation that Jack over at TLDORC makes whilst also stressing the point that the make up of the side (assuming the 4-4-2 is maintained) is better suited to playing on the road than at home.

There is also the added intrigue this weekend both United and Arsenal potentially helping out their rivals. Tottenham, rejuvenated after two excellent wins on the bounce over Arsenal and Chelsea first travel to Old Trafford to take on a United who found themselves back in the title hunt and the bit between their teeth following results last weekend. An interesting point to that game is that Tottenham have failed to win in sixty-six consecutive games away from against the 'big four'. From our perspective now is not the time for that stat to end.

Regardless of Tottenham's results though, qualification for the Champions League is in our hands. Roberto Mancini stated in his presser this morning that three wins from our remaining four games will be good enough to ensure we finish in the top four, providing one of the victories is against Tottenham. I very much agree with him, stating the very same point in this post earlier in the week.

There are also plenty of sub-plots of course. Former Arsenal players Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira, Sylvinho and of course tomorrow's pantomime villain Emmanuel Adebayor may feature at some point. Adebayor of course grabbed the headlines the last time the two sides met in the league, and there has been plenty of call for calm ahead of the game.

As well as confidence being low, Arsenal are also beset by injuries to key players - Amunia, Arshavin, Gallas, Vermaelen, Denilson, Djourou, Fabregas, Ramsey and Gibbs all out, although on a brighter note Robin Van Persie may return and he is more than capable of causing problems for our defence. Alex Song may also return (after a late fitness test) and his presence could be huge.

I am hoping that Mancini maintains the 4-4-2 formation to really get at Arsenal, and we have scored goals against them in recent games, although bringing in Vieira for Adam Johnson would not be a surprise and we certainly showed more composure and calmness once he came on against United.

I'm having a tough time calling this one. Whilst this is a game we are more than capable of taking the points from the weight of history is against us.

For that reason, I'll predict a 2-2 draw - possibly with conceding a late equaliser. However, that will be good enough in the sense that Tottenham will not better our result and with three games remaining our fate will be in our hands.