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Sky Blue News: Arsenal Cross-Talk, Injury Updates, Oliver Official, and More...

Tuesday headlines from Bitter and Blue.

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Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The match of the season is fast approaching and Manchester City are set to host Premier League leaders Arsenal FC at the Etihad. The women have begun preparations for a weekend visit from Reading as they continue their pursuit of WSL leaders Manchester United. Sky Blue News is here with all the latest to help you keep it all sorted.


Gareth Taylor’s side currently sit second in the table, three points off the summit with four matches remaining.

A Chloe Kelly brace, plus further strikes from Laura Coombs, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, Steph Houghton and Mary Fowler ensured City came out on top in a thrilling 6-2 win over West Ham in our latest encounter.

It means we remain in the thick of a thrilling four-way race for the title with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The quartet face off in the penultimate match of the campaign, with City travelling to league leaders United and third-placed Chelsea hosting Arsenal.

Manchester City vs Arsenal: A Primer with the Short Fuse - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

A fantastic midweek match that could decide the Premier League! Arsenal visit Manchester City and we have the perfect preparation for you.

We talked with Nathan Reynolds from SB Nation’s Short Fuse for a primer on Arsenal fans thoughts after bad results, injuries and more.

Let’s dive right in!

1) Given Arsenal’s last three results, can you give us the temperature among the fanbase?

A: I’m sure if you look long enough you’ll find the full range of reactions out there on the internet. Disappointment, sadness, frustration, and acceptance. Clearly, the loss of William Saliba for those three matches has played a big factor, as was Xhaka’s absence against Southampton. They were capable of much more control in those three matches, but with the second-youngest team in the league, it’s not surprising to see moments like that. Perhaps all in a row. However, the draw against Southampton means Arsenal will finish ahead of Tottenham this year and are within a point or two of clinching a Champions League spot.

2) What is the key point you are looking for going into the City next midweek?

A: Squad health. Will Granit Xhaka be back from illness? Is William Saliba fit enough to start or at least make the bench? Playing against this City side is difficult, at home even more so, but it’s quite another thing without two key players missing from the spine of the team.

‘Too soon’ - Mikel Arteta gives injury update on key Arsenal man ahead of Man City clash - Michael Plant - Manchester World

Mikel Arteta has confirmed that William Saliba will not be fit to face Manchester City in Wednesday’s huge Premier League clash at the Etihad.

The Arsenal defender has missed the last five with a back injury and there were reports earlier this week that he may not be involved again this season due to the problem. While Arteta didn’t give a long-term evaluation of Saliba’s fitness, he did reveal the 22-year-old has not recovered in time to make the trip to Manchester.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Gunner boss said: “There’s not been any real improvement unfortunately on him. We’re are still waiting, we are still hopeful but obviously it’s another week gone by where he hasn’t been able to train with the team.”

Asked if Saliba might miss the rest of the campaign, Arteta replied: “I’ll leave that to the doctors to explain, if they explain. At the moment we don’t have him and we are preparing for this game without him. The next game is probably going to come too soon as well. We have to go week by week at the moment.”

Arsenal confirm double injury blow for Man City fixture as Mikel Arteta plays down title narrative - George Hodgson - Manchester Evening News

Arsenal will be without William Saliba and Granit Xhaka against Manchester City on Wednesday night.

The Gunners head up north for a colossal clash in the race for the Premier League title. Arsenal’s three consecutive draws have opened up the door for City, who are five points behind Mikel Arteta’s side with two games in hand.

The visitors were without the key defender and midfielder in last Friday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton - and Arteta does not expect to have them back in time to take on City. Xhaka missed the Saints match through illness, while Saliba has been struggling with a lower back injury for six weeks.

Pep Guardiola says he is ‘not at all’ excited,’ but Manchester City now looks likelier than ever to win elusive Treble - Matias Grez - CNN

After booking its place in the Champions League semifinals with a 4-1 aggregate win over Bayern Munich, Manchester City then reached the FA Cup final on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over second-tier Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium.

That win came a day after Arsenal once again threw away points in the Premier League title race, drawing 3-3 at home to relegation-threatened Southampton to hand the initiative to City for the first time all season.

City trails Arsenal by five points at the top of the Premier League but crucially has two games in hand, with the two teams facing off in a huge title clash at the Etihad on Wednesday.

Entertaininment data company Gracenote now gives City a 79% chance of winning the Premier League and Arsenal just 21%.

Despite City now being a maximum of just 12 games away from a potential Treble, manager Pep Guardiola is refusing to get caught up in the possibility.

“I’ll talk to you about it after we have won the FA Cup and Premier League,” he told reporters after the FA Cup semifinal, per the BBC.

Michael Oliver appointed as referee for Manchester City vs Arsenal - Tom Cayless - City Report

As the possibility of a treble looms for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the blues host table-toppers Arsenal in the Premier League. If City win, they’ll go two points behind the Gunners with two games in hand and a superior goal difference. Michael Oliver has been appointed referee for the big game this Wednesday, kicking off at 20:00 (UK).

Michael Oliver

With Michael Oliver in charge, City have picked up the most wins of any Premier League side with a total of 31 victories in 41 games. Arsenal’s record, on the other hand, isn’t the greatest: Mikel Arteta’s side have suffered 16 losses under Oliver’s officiating - the fourth-worst record within the Premier League.

So far this season, the 38-year-old has dished out 74 yellow cards (2.96 per game) and just one red. Most notably for City fans, Oliver has refereed the Premier League champions twice this season: the 2-0 victory at West Ham, on the opening day, when Erling Haaland bagged his first goals for City and the 6-3 derby win at the Etihad courtesy of Phil Foden and Haaland hat-tricks.

And finally... Real Madrid have decide that now would be a good tome to change the turf at Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid to make major Santiago Bernabeu change ahead of Manchester City showdown - Freddie Pye - City Xtra

The Spanish club overcame the challenge of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the quarter-final stage, winning both portions of 90 minutes at the Bernabeu and Stamford Bridge, while Manchester City defeated German giants Bayern Munich across two-legs.

However, a new report has detailed how Manchester City will be taking on Real Madrid on a different playing surface to the one that entertained Chelsea in the Spanish capital, with plans to replace the turf ahead of the contest.

That is according to the information of Mario Cortegana for The Athletic, who reports that Real Madrid will change the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu before the UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Manchester City.

The iconic home of Los Blancos continues to undergo a major renovation, but development has had a noticeable knock-on effect on the quality of Real Madrid’s playing surface.

There you have it Cityzens. Bitter and Blue has you covered with all the latest as we build to the match against Arsenal. Sky Blue News returns tomorrow with more headlines.