While this fixture is arriving so early in the 2023/24 season, there’s no denying its significance.
The champions meet the challengers on Sunday afternoon as Arsenal welcome Manchester City to the Emirates. It was City’s imperious conclusion that shattered the Gunners’ title dream last season, and while many are sceptical about their chances of usurping the Cityzens come next May, there’s no doubt Mikel Arteta’s men will make a good fist of it.
Their maiden victory over a Pep Guardiola-led City this weekend would undoubtedly provide a major psychological boost.
However, the hosts could be without their two star wingers for Sunday’s game, although the visitors are without their midfield lynchpin. Another enthralling tactical duel is in store, a
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Manchester City
Another enthralling tactical duel is in store, and here’s how Arteta could set his Arsenal side up.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
David Raya (GK) – He may have made a couple of mistakes in recent outings, but I think the boss sticks with Raya, who should now be regarded as the club’s number one.
Ben White (RB) – Takehiro Tomiyasu had a great chance to impress at Lens, but he didn’t take it. There’s no doubt White comes back into the team.
William Saliba (CB) – One of two players who performed pretty well during their Champions League defeat, Saliba is built for occasions like these.
Gabriel (CB) – The physical Brazilian will relish the battle with Nordic hitman Erling Haaland.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Coming up against his former club, Zinchenko will undoubtedly be good for 70 minutes before he’s inevitably withdrawn.
Thomas Partey (DM) – Having returned to training in the week, Partey is ready to go and I suspect he’ll start on Sunday as Arteta will attempt to dominate physically in the middle of the park.
Declan Rice (CM) – Against a lightweight City midfield, Rice could join forces with Partey. What role he’ll play, I’m not so sure, but Rice is a shoo-in given his start to life in north London.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – I would love Odegaard to produce nothing short of a masterclass on Sunday, but Saka’s absence will make it hard (if he doesn’t play).
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Arteta described Saka as “in contention” for Sunday, and I think he starts – whether that’s a wise idea is another matter. The significance of the contest could force the manager’s hand somewhat.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – Kai Havertz is a genuine option, but only if Saka’s fit. He’s not going to usurp Jesus up top.
Leandro Trossard (LW) – With Gabriel Martinelli unlikely to feature, Trossard should get the nod down the left despite his poor showing on Tuesday night. The Belgian has the capacity to do some damage in the final third.