Manchester City face their biggest test of the season so far as they travel to Arsenal for the final game before another international break. The Gunners finished second to the blues last season as their title challenge faded in dramatic style, while the secured their first trophy of their spectacular treble.
Losing the title to the blues will still cause pain to former City assistant Mikel Arteta, who has strengthened his side in the hope of going one better. Arsenal are a point behind City in third place and a win for either side would take them to the top of the Premier League.
Following City’s surprise defeat at Wolves last weekend, Arsenal became one of only two teams remaining unbeaten at the start of this season. They have won five and drawn two of their opening seven matches. After winning their first two matches at home to Forest and away to Palace, Arsenal drew 2-2 at home to Fulham to take seven points from nine. A 3-1 win over United and a 1-0 win at Everton was followed by another 2-2 draw, this time at home to north London rivals Spurs.
Their last match saw the Gunners comfortable winners as they thrashed Bournemouth 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium. In addition, they hammered PSV Eindhoven 4-0 in their return to the Champions League, but lost 2-1 at Lens in midweek.
The Gunners invested heavily in the transfer market, signing three major players in the form of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Chelsea forward Kai Havertz and Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber. The three combined cost the Gunners over £200m in transfer fees.
Their two major signings, Rice and Havertz, have yet to make an impression; hopefully, it will remain the same on Sunday.
If he plays, Bukayo Saka is Arsenal’s main threat to the blues. The England star was injured in midweek and went off with a muscle injury, but is reported to be ‘in contention’ to play on Sunday. Saka has scored five goals from ten matches played, taken 15 shots and has a goal conversion rate of 33%.
Martin Odegaard has hit four from 11 matches played so far, and has attempted 16 shots, the most in the Arsenal side. his goal conversion rate is much lower than Saka’s at 25%, but his shot accuracy is an outstanding 81%. However, Leandro Trossard and Ben White will be others to watch too. Trossard has scored three goals from six matches and White one goal from 11. However, both have a 100% shot accuracy, so Ederson and the City defence will have to watch the pair on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta remains at the helm for Arsenal. Despite some early concerns by Gunners fans, many of whom on social media felt wasn’t good enough to manage the side, Arteta has successfully returned the Gunners to the Champions League and came close to beating City to the league title.
Arteta has presided over 191 matches as Arsenal boss since 2019, winning 110 and losing 48, giving him a win ratio of 58%.
Last Time in London
The blues ran out victorious at the Emirates Stadium last season to end Arsenal’s unbeaten home record. Kevin de Bruyne opened the scoring in the 24th minute and, despite Saka levelling just before the break, late goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland sealed the three points for City.