The Gunners have a real chance to beat Manchester City this weekend after a strong showing last Sunday against Stoke City and with the Citizens missing a few key squad members.
With last season’s 6-3 loss fresh in our opponents minds, it’s time to atone for the disappointing defeat and make a statement of intent.
So far this season the Gunners can be pleased with their efforts against the Champions. We thrashed them at Wembley in the Community Shield and almost pipped them at Emirates in the 2-2 draw in September.
Naturally we cannot be 100% confident of a win, a draw should certainly be a minimum. But here are five reasons why we can claim all three points:
1. More time to train
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We saw the effects of a full week between games last weekend against Stoke City. Arsenal came out of the blocks flying and snatched an early lead. We can recreate that with a fiery start at Etihad and try to get under the champions skin from the first whistle.
Which leads to..
2. No away UCL leg three days before a lunch time kick off this time
While the focus of this clash may be on last seasons high octane 6-3 loss, there are plenty of factors that went against the Gunners. Not just the appalling refereeing and poor passing mistakes but also the fact that we traveled to Napoli on a Wednesday night with the players returning early Thursday morning before traveling for the Saturday lunch time kick off shortly after. Naturally it works both ways this time round, but considering the Gunners do not have the depth of squad as City it certainly is an added benefit.
3. We have the Player of the Season
Alexis Sanchez continued his insatiable form against Stoke, delivering a perfect cross for Koscielny then scoring a fantastic solo effort after some tenacious work and topped his weekend off with a goal from a free kick.
Alexis has been top drawer not just with his goal and assist contributions but his work rate has been second to none and it has been rubbing off on his team mates. The Chilean will be up for the clash and will hope to build on the stunner he scored in the reverse fixture.
4. Some of City’s stars are missing
While many of Arsenal’s first choice stars are fit and raring to go, City on the other hand are lacking a certain Yaya Toure who is on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, as is new signing Wilfred Bony, while Samir Na$ri has also been ruled out through injury. Factor in that Sergio Aguero has only just returned to full fitness, and Arsenal’s chances are certainly helped though clearly it will be no ‘walk in the park’.
5. Arsenal’s menacing attack is developing coherency
We may have touched on Alexis above, but the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud have been growing game by game not to mention Tomas Rosicky’s fantastic performance against Stoke. The passing and movement going forward has been far more exciting and lethal, something we haven’t been able to say about Arsene Wenger’s side for much of this season.
No doubt there will be defensive worries considering the loss of Mathieu Debuchy but the Gunners certainly have the weapons to out score City.
Our right back, most likely Calum Chambers, will have a tough time due to his lack of experience in the position and with have to counteract the attacking prowess of players such as David Silva and Aguero. But it could be worse for the Gunners considering our recent injury woes and we go into the tie confident following our recent good form.