Premier League match time comes to the Emirates when Arsenal host Man City on Wednesday, January 5, 2011, in match week 22.
The two met earlier in the season when City hosted Gunners at the City of Manchester on October 24, 2010, with Wenger’s men emerging 3-0 winners in a hopelessly one-sided affair.
The game began cruelly for City as Boyata got sent off on five minutes after the Belgian teenage defender brought down Chamakh. Chamakh had cashed in on a pass from Fabregas, following a lapse in Boyata’s concentration.
And when 15 minutes later, Nasri gave Arsenal the lead, there was only going to be one winner, as 10-man City looked increasingly fatigued, burdened with the task of stopping a rampaging Arsenal forward line.
To his credit, Mancini tried out his whole bag of tricks to pull something out of the game. He started by taking Yaya Toure into the back-line, and later decided that he was needed more in midfield and brought Boateng into the core of the back-line, while Barry also retreated to left-back.
To Gunners’ credit they played a tactical game, tiring out Man City, even as they sought to add to the score. And their ploy paid off as Song, just after the hour, and Bendtner, with two minutes of regulation time to run, made City pay an exorbitant price for Boyata’s lapse.
Man City are currently in second place in the points table behind Man United. Arsenal arein third but have played oine game fewer than City, and are two points adrift.
The Gunners have won 6 of 9 games hosted at the Emirates, while losing the remaining 3. Man City have had one of the best away records this season; Mancini’s charges have won 6 of 10 games on the road, while losing and drawing 2 games each.
Arsenal have had a dominant 15-3 record against Man City in the last 20 league meetings between the sides, with the remaining two games drawn. Incidentally, all of Man City’s 3 wins have come in the last four years.
With both sides having emerged as serious title contenders, this promises to be a thrilling encounter. While Arsenal have been very effective in attack, their back-line has been found wanting. Man City appear to be a more well-rounded side with the dependency on Tevez to score goals reduced in recent matches. The battle could be won in midfield, where a fit Fabregas could help compensation for Gunners’ porous defence.
The following men comprised Arsenal’s starting eleven against Wigan, in match week 20: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh and Arshavin. Walcott, Nasri and Wilshere featured as substitutes.
Man City had the following players in their starting eleven against Aston Villa in match week 20: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Y Toure, De Jong, Vieira, Johnson, Balotelli and Silva. Milner, Jo and Bridge played as substitutes.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.