Arsenal vs. Manchester City Preview

This will prove to be a massive fixture for both teams.  As the Gunners welcome City to the Emirates, it will all be on the line.  For the Manchester club, the win will keep them in the title race.  For Arsenal, a win would keep the team afloat in the race for fourth that increasingly looks as if it will come down to the wire.

Either Arsenal, Chelsea, or Tottenham will miss the Champions’ League next year.  Currently Chelsea sits five points below the other London clubs, but an Arsenal loss could slice that lead to just two.  Similarly, Manchester City is currently five points behind league leaders, Manchester United, and their loss could open that lead to eight points.  If that occurred, we might as well just hand the trophy over to United.

The news in Manchester these days revolves around Mario Balotelli, who continues to show glimpses of his amazing talent, but whose antics have forced manager Roberto Mancini to declare that he cannot trust the striker.  Balotelli’s childish displays on and off the field lead us to wonder what role he will play in the match.  Mancini has other weapons to utilize such as Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.  Perhaps this is a good match for Mario to watch from the bench, given the importance.

An interesting tidbit will also be the arrival of a plethora of ex-Arsenal players that will come with their new club.  Samir Nasri should play a role, as should Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure.  Arsenal certainly have missed all those players in recent times, especially as injuries have left them terribly short at positions such as left back.

This is definitely a match for the Gunners to step up to the challenge for.  Theo Walcott has publicly expressed the team’s confidence ahead of the match, and there will surely be more talk as Sunday approaches.  The match comes at a definite crossroads for Arsenal.  They had won seven straight Premier League matches until they lost away to QPR last weekend.

The confidence expressed by Walcott was surely built up during that stretch, as many points were taken in the dying embers of matches.  However, if they now lose two in a row, that nice feeling will be entirely lost.  They worked very hard to close that ten point gap behind Tottenham in the short matter of a month and it would be a shame for them to give it all up again that easily.

Another matter of importance in this match displays the need for Arsenal to prove they can compete with the best.  With the recent tear up the table, fans have been feeling as if they should be able to compete for the title next season.  In order to truly feel that way, the team needs to show that they can beat the best.  This is a game at home with about as full of a squad as they’ve had all season.  If Arsenal cannot beat Manchester City here, they truly have no business talking about titles and the like.

Considering that Manchester City feels the same way, the match should be enthralling.  Both teams need the points, so they will go for it.  Man City has had the upper hand in recent encounters so it is now the time for the Gunners to rise up to the occasion.  I predict a grand Arsenal win 2:1.

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