Home Sports Football The Premier League title race heats up as Manchester City face Arsenal

The Premier League title race heats up as Manchester City face Arsenal

Manchester City vs Arsenal – Preview

The Premier League title race is heating up with Arsenal traveling to the Etihad Stadium to face defending champions, Manchester City. Both teams are in strong form, making this a crucial clash for their title aspirations.

Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a dominant display against Newcastle United. Bernardo Silva stole the show with a brace, solidifying their ambitions for the trophy.

On the other hand, Arsenal needed a penalty shootout to overcome a 1-0 deficit against FC Porto to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. Although Leandro Trossard’s first-half goal and David Raya’s heroics in the shootout secured their passage, they now face an important away fixture in the league.

Also read: Injury Woes For Manchester City As Defender Manuel Akanji Faces Race Against Time Ahead Of Arsenal Showdown

Both sides enter the match brimming with confidence after strong starts to the calendar year. Manchester City are currently 3rd on the table with 63 points whilst Arsenal sits at the top with 64 points. This game could be a season-defining result for Arsenal as it can prove to be the most important win in the last 20 years if they manage to secure a result and go on to win the title.

This fixture certainly is, the battle of the best!


Date: 31st March 2024, Sunday.
Time: 3:30 PM GMT.
Venue: Etihad Stadium


Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn.
Fourth Official: Tom Bramall.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.


For Pep Guardiola, he’d have to lineup without their main keeper, Ederson as he picked up an injury during their FA Cup tie earlier this month. Kevin De Bruyne and Akanji both withdrew from their respective countries and are hopeful for their returns. Kyle Walker and John Stones both picked up injuries while featuring for England and are yet to be assessed.

As for the visitors, this fixture might come too soon for Jurien Timber as he’s been sidelined out due to his ACL injury. He’s expected to be back to lighter training next week. Arsenal are optimistic that Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Magalhaes will both be fit for the fixture after both dropped out of their respective countries’ matches during the international break.

The complexity of Martinelli’s injury is still yet to be addressed and a call regarding his fitness is to be made by Mikel and co. Tomiyasu and Partey’s return from injury is a certain boost as both featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR during the break.

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Arsenal have managed to beat Man City twice this season – once in the Community Shield and the 1-0 win in the reverse fixture at the Emirates. The Gunners are aware Pep Guardiola may adjust his approach. This time, the Gunners are concocting tactical surprises to counter City’s potential adjustments.

Arsenal played the reverse fixture without the likes of Saka and Martinelli. Gabriel Jesus was deployed at RW and had a pretty decent game with constant link-ups with Ben White and Jorginho. They settled into an RHS overload and tried getting forward.

If Martinelli is fit to start and there is a scenario in which Havertz tucks into midfield and Jesus starts at CF, Arsenal could benefit from a different route of capitalising from the LHS to create attacks.

Considering they have a fully fit side and Havertz/Jorginho start, Odegaard would have a massive job to do regardless of Jorginho starting; he’ll need to play a deeper role and get into the pockets and feed the ball across the pitch.

With Ortega expected to be behind the sticks for Manchester City, he would hold the ball in the first phase. Odegaard and Havertz would lead the press mainly to win the ball in the second phase.

Man City’s midfield options can make the difference in the fixture; especially if Stones starts. If that’s the case, the best possible scenario to lead the press would be that of Declan Rice and Odegaard blocking the passage of play whilst also efficiently pressing.

Rodri has been City’s metronome in possession and needs to be kept quiet. Arsenal can’t afford to let Man City unlock them on the transitions.

Gabriel and Saliba have dominated Haaland every time they’ve faced him whilst also restricting him to a 0.00 xG rate in 90 minutes.

Big games are defined by nerves, one poor action can have a fatal reaction due to the margins being so thin. Mistakes can prove costly for either side.


Phil Foden

Foden is no doubt Manchester City’s most lethal talent in the squad who has the knack of rising to success in big matches. A constant threat with his dribbling and passing, Foden can create something out of nothing, making him a key player for City’s attack. The majority of his goals this season have come out from his own moment of magic which speaks highly of how he doesn’t depend on his teammates to create attacks. It’ll be interesting to see where he’ll be deployed against the Gunners.

Kai Havertz

Havertz has been one of Arsenal’s most unpredictable/versatile outputs this season. Been playing matches at LCM, and AMF and now shining at CF, Kai Havertz has been coming off good for the men in red. In red-hot form, Havertz offers a dynamic attacking presence with his goalscoring and playmaking ability. His uncanny ability to assess the pattern of play, help win duels and create connections with players creates a unique dynamic going forward. He’s an engine when it comes to pressing from the front and can easily be the focal point in holding the ball and creating chances for the Gunners.

Also read: Murphy Suggests Three Players Who Should Form England’s Midfield Partnership


Manchester City predicted XI vs Arsenal: Ortega, Walker, Dias, Akanji, Ake, Rodri, Stones, Silva, Foden, Alvarez, Haaland.

Arsenal predicted XI vs Manchester City: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Rice, Jorginho, Odegaard, Saka, Havertz, Martinelli.



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