Arsenal host Manchester City tonight at the Emirates Stadium as both teams look to further their title winning credentials.
With José Mourinho sacked from Chelsea, Wenger and Pellegrini are the only current top-flight managers to have won the Premier League title. Both would very much like to do so again, however, so expect respective matchwinners Alexis Sánchez and Sergio Agüero to return earlier than expected as both managers hunt the three points.
Arsenal (from): Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Arteta, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott.
Doubtful Sánchez (hamstring)
Injured Arteta (calf, 28 Dec), Wilshere (leg, 8 Jan), Rosicky (knee, 24 Jan), Welbeck (knee, Feb), Coquelin (knee, Mar), Cazorla (knee, Apr)
Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Mangala, Otamendi, Sagna, De Bruyne, Delph, Fernandinho, Navas, Roberts, Silva, Toure, Zuculini, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho, Sterling.
Doubtful Agüero (match fitness)
Injured Kompany (calf, 29 Dec), Zabaleta (knee, 29 Dec), Fernando (2 Jan), Nasri (both hamstring, Apr)
Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: J Brooks, M McDonough Fourth Official: C Pawson
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
“It is a massive game. When we play at home, you want to win because we are ambitious and we feel we have the chance to come out in a strong position after Christmas.
“It will be a very tight game because if you look at the numbers since the start of the season, offensively and defensively the numbers are very close.
“Manchester City has huge individual potential with David Silva and Sergio Aguero coming back and so we will need a top, top-level team performance.”
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini:
“It’s not a decisive game as after this we have to play 21 games more.
“It’s important to try to be the best team from the first round, to play against a team with one point more. It’s a game of six points, to win three and to take three off a rival.
“We must consider Leicester – they are still top of the table. United are just a few points behind us. Tottenham can be involved, so can Liverpool and Crystal Palace.
“It’s impossible just to think there are two teams involved in the title.”
- Arsenal have lost just one of their 18 Premier League home games against Manchester City (W11, D6), but have won just one of the last six (D4, L1).
- The last two league meetings at the Emirates have ended in a draw.
- There have been five red cards in the last five Premier League matches between City and Arsenal at the Emirates.
- Arsenal haven’t lost at home in the Premier League since the opening day of the season.
- The Gunners have scored in their last 10 league games.
- Arsenal have won more points away from home this season than they have at the Emirates (19 away, 14 at home).
- Mesut Ozil has had 13 Premier League assists this season – six more than nearest rival Gerard Deulofeu (seven).
- Petr Cech needs one more clean sheet to surpass David James’ record of 169 Premier League clean sheets.
- City haven’t won a league game away from the Etihad since September (D2, L2).
- They have failed to score in their last three away league matches. The last time they failed to score in four successive Premier League away games was in February 2006.
- City haven’t won back-to-back league games since mid-October.
- Kelechi Iheanacho’s two Premier League goals this season have won Man City four points. That’s the same number of points that Olivier Giroud’s nine goals have earned Arsenal.
Arsenal 1 V 1 Manchester City
Both teams may decide to adopt a ‘do not lose’ mentality which could force this one into a draw. On paper Manchester City have the better squad, however this Premier League season hasn’t really panned out as expected. Both these teams have displayed incredible inconsistencies and we can’t see either manager throwing caution to the wind. It will be a tight one for sure.