It is not always the case that ‘Super Sunday’ lives up to its name. However, with three cracking games being offered up this Sunday, this could be a very super Sunday indeed.
Despite facing probably one of the best sides the Premier League era has ever seen, Arsenal will be heading to the Etihad with the hopes of putting down a serious title challenge marker. A win for Arsène Wenger’s men would see them only six points adrift of City and perhaps, if other results go their way, above their arch rivals, Spurs.
Though a win for the Gunners will not be the most unlikely thing to happen in football, not being able to beat City has unfortunately become a sign of the times for pretty much every other club – the odds for Burnley to beat City a few weeks ago were reported to be the longest odds ever in the Premier League era.
Though the Sky Blues are still yet to play a few of the big teams, they remain undefeated.
With nine wins and a draw in ten matches, Arsenal will be desperate to blot City’s squeaky clean record – abruptly stamping out any claim of ‘invincibility’, alluding to the 03-04 season where the London club went the distance of a season and then some, without losing a single league game.
Technically, it’s an honour they already share with an 1880’s Preston North End side, though having to share it with Man City would surely be just too much to take for most fans.
It’s important to remember how far City have come in recent years. Respect them or not, having been bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, they have won five major honours including two Premier League titles since 2011. Arsenal’s fortunes on the other hand, though despite three FA cups, have not reached the heights they were once promised.
This difference in fortunes can be seen clearly on the touchlines, where ex-Arsenal player Mikel Arteta will be sitting, though it will be Pep Guardiola and not Arsène Wenger who will be receiving his words of advice.
The fact that Arteta chose City to begin his coaching career, whilst another Arsenal legend, Patrick Viera, is over the pond managing City’s sister club, New York City, only makes the chasm between the two sides more obvious – making Arsenal all the more hungrier to snatch the win.
Playing City with your full squad available is one thing, having to play them with a number of injuries is another. Unfortunately Arsenal go into this one with a few key players unavailable as Mustafi is a definite miss and the inclusion of in form Saed Kolašinac is uncertain, as reports suggest, though Arsenal’s injury situation has been much worse in recent seasons.
City, on the other hand, are without a single midfield or forward injury and with their only two defence injuries in Vincent Company and Benjamin Mendy being long term, Guardiola has had much time to sort out his options, effectively making City feel injury free.
This game cannot be spoken about without the mentioning of Arsenal talisman, Alexis Sanchez. Although the Chilean hasn’t been at his best so far this season, with only one goal to his name, eyes will be fixed on his performance with big question marks looming with regards to his future as a potential City player. No doubt Sanchez will want to beat City come this weekend, but for what reasons in particular? Well that’s anybody’s guess.
Score prediction: Man City 3-2 Arsenal