It makes Luton Airport seem like a picnic.
Just days after the travel chaos that hampered their European plans, Arsenal will have a second storm to weather on Sunday as they play host to Premier League champions, Manchester City.
The visitors have dominated these meetings for much of the last decade and currently hold a 12-game winning streak against us- our worst such record against any team in club history.
But an arduous rebuild and positive injury news mean Mikel Arteta is perhaps better placed than ever to finally buck that particular trend, while two defeats in three games indicate City are not quite in top gear now.
Arsenal vs Manchester City: 3 key battles that could decide their Premier League clash
This should be an extraordinary clash between two title hopefuls, and here are three key battles that might decide it.
1. Kai Havertz vs Ruben Dias
Depleted frontline options may help to finally unleash Kai Havertz.
Although our summer recruit has primarily operated in midfield this year, another injury to Bukayo Saka could force the boss to put Gabriel Jesus out wide and use Havertz at centre forward instead- where he performed well during our Community Shield win over City.
It was the 2023/24 curtain-raiser that showcased his aerial strengths and proved he has the pressing ability, along with good linking skills, to thrive as a striker in Arteta’s system. Havertz also offers a fantastic outlet for relieving pressure when City inevitably press us high, and his success with retaining possession will be crucial if we are to make any offensive inroads.
Standing in his way is Ruben Dias, and Premier League opponents do not come much tougher than that. The 26-year-old is a supremely intelligent player who always finds himself in the right place to intercept or make blocks, while his comfort on the ball and physicality may condemn Havertz to a long, frustrating afternoon.
Dias can take pleasure from the fact that we will probably not “just stay there” like Wolves last week, but hopefully, dogged work from Havertz will make him wish we did.
Continued on the next slide…