Man City vs Arsenal: 3 key battles in Premier League title showdown

  • Arsenal will travel to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday
  • The Gunners need all three points to keep the title in their hands
  • A Gabriel Martinelli strike ended our 12-match losing domestic run vs Man City in October

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
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3.  Gabriel Martinelli vs Manuel Akanji

Gabriel Martinelli, Julian Alvarez
Manchester City v Arsenal - The FA Community Shield / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Another mouth-watering encounter, if both/either player actually makes it to the game.

Gabriel Martinelli had just hit form prior to the break, recording six goal contributions in seven league matches before injury, and he tormented a few (admittedly woeful) defences with his relentless work rate.   

There is no doubt that, when at his best, our #11 possesses the speed, close control and finishing to keep the Champions on their toes; it only remains to be seen if he is fit enough to perform at that level on Sunday - something a near month-long rest has hopefully helped with.

City are plagued by injuries themselves and, therefore, the identity of his direct opponent remains unknown, although Guardiola has stated that Manuel Akanji is “100% ready and available”.

The Swiss nullified Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank last April and will grant us little freedom down his side. He is a calm presence who will not be easily fazed but, like Kiwior, Martinelli may get some joy if he can force him inside to defend on his weaker foot - a ploy which depends on Kiwior’s overlaps.

Martinelli might well be reduced to a bit-part role, but I will settle for another last-minute sucker punch.