Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Song – Djourou- Silvestre – Clichy
Ramsey – Diaby – Denilson – Nasri
Van Persie – Bendtner
Subs from: Fabianski, Hoyte, Gibbs, Wilshere, Lansbury, Vela, Simpson, (Adebayor)
Man City Likely Line Up (4-2-3-1)
Zabaleta – Dunne(c) – Richards – Garrido
Kompany – Fernandes
Wright-Phillips – Ireland – Robinho
Subs from: Jonasen, Onuoha, Ben-Haim, Ball, Hamann, Elano, Vassell, Jo, Sturridge, Evans.
Injury doubts: Toure, (Adebayor and Vela return on Friday from International duty)
Form Guide: Arsenal (4th) W7 D2 L4= 23 points Man City (12th): W4 D2 L7= 14 points
Regardless of whether Gallas is still captain the game should be intense and very attack minded however Manchester City will want it to be anything but. They are likely to play two defensive midfielders in front of the defense and look to allow the attacking players to attack with freedom. Ireland is the man in form and his tireless running will need to be tracked. This should prove an interesting battle with Denilson/Diaby; whoever plays that defensive midfield role will need to be at their tactical best against the front four.
Fabregas is out as he is suspended while Van Persie is back in and he will be the key creative force. Dropping deep in a congested midfield will be harder so maybe forced even deeper at times. Denilson may even have more creative reigns or Diaby will be asked to fill that role.
There is no natural winger so exploiting full backs weaknesses will prove more difficult therefore Clichy and Song’s ability to overlap may prove decisive and gaps left behind can be further exploited on the counter. Song and Clichy will also be wary of the threat posed by Robinho and Wright-Phillips, especially the former as he is not a natural full back. It should prove to an interesting match.
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Prediction: Manchester City 1-3 Arsenal