Friday, 16 December 2011

Manchester City v Arsenal

Another big game ahead as Arsenal travel up from London to the Etihad Stadium. The media have taken delight in declaring City's season is crumbling after falling out of the Champions League and suffering their first domestic defeat against Chelsea. All I will say to that is "pffft, get a grip and find something interesting to write about".

Arsene Wenger's side haven't exactly got off to a flying start to the season after selling 3 very important players over the summer. Their defensive record is quite shocking overall, conceding more goals than anyone in the top 7 teams.

This poor record is partly down to their complete and utter capitulation to Manchester United earlier on in the season, but they have only conceded 2 in their last 5 Premier League games. However, their numbers at the back have taken a serious hit and are without a recognised full-back on either side of the pitch.

Unsurprisingly I would say their main threat is Robin van Persie. RVP has almost single handedly kept the Gunners in the top half of the table, scoring 15 or the team's 31 league goals. And they said City relied too much on Tevez last season! I've not heard much (anything) about how van Persie has been carrying the squad from the media, and you wont do either.

Given RVP's goal scoring form, it is a little concerning that City haven't kept a clean sheet for 8 consecutive league games. The absence of Nigel De Jong has certainly showed this season as Mancini has opted for the combination of Barry and Toure in the middle rather than Barry and De Jong with Toure further up the pitch.

On the plus side of this though it has obviously enabled City to be more adventurous despite using the exact same formation as last season as we now have more quality attacking players to choose from. There can be no denying that City's ability going forward has more than made up for less cover at the back.

Talking of cover at the back, Micah Richards is set to return at right-back which is a big boost to the squad. Pablo Zabaleta is likely to move over to the left of defence as Kolarov is still recovering from injury and Clichy is suspended. Other than that, there are no injury concerns at this time.

City are once again favourites with the bookies to come out on top, and despite Arsenal slowly getting themselves back into top form and City's little blip in the league I'd have to agree with them. Arsenal will come and play football, there will be no buses parked in front of their goal. This, coupled with their makeshift defence, could play right into City's strength on the break.

And FIFA 12 predicts...

Twitter: @MikeWalsh1880
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