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City v. Arsenal: My Predicted Starting XI

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Here I present my probable starting XI for Manchester City's important Monday night primetime match against the Gunners in London.

Shall this man decide Monday night's clash?
Shall this man decide Monday night's clash?
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

For Manchester City, Monday's match against the Gunners at the Emirates could serve as a benchmark for the rest of the season. Turning the corner against 2nd place Arsenal and moving up to second place right as the second half of the season beckons. It is clear that this match will not decide this season's champions of the Premier League, but a win for Manchester City would set up a good prospect for its aspirations to win the Barclays Premier League this season. It could also serve as a clear statement of intent for City aimed at top positioned sides like Leicester City and the bigger clubs who have largely disappointed this season, particularly Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

For Manchester City, it will be essential to have Sergio Aguero in the line up against the Gunners. With reports indicating that Aguero will be fit for Monday's match, it will be refreshing to see him in replacement for Wilfried Bony, who has shown some potential, but has largely been ineffective this season. Given that he has been injured this season, Aguero, if selected, will rely significantly on what the second line of attack achieves against Arsenal. David Silva, as the central attacking midfielder, will provide creativity and effective ball movement. Raheem Sterling will need to provide pace in an attempt to run the speedy Hector Bellerin from the left. Kevin de Bruyne, down the right, will need to provide creativity in possession as well as power to push forward to achieve shots on goal.

Behind the attack quartet, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho will provide the back line with additional cover, as well as forward passing to the likes of David Silva, who will serve to push the ball to the likes of Sterling and de Bruyne and into Aguero. In defense, Aleksandar Kolarov will need to stop the upbeat and rapid Costa Rican international, Joel Campbell, while Bacary Sagna will need to keep Alexis Sanchez in order to restrict the forward movement of the Gunners. Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala will provide cover for Vincent Kompany, who remains injured with a calf ailment.