Football

Arsenal Vs Manchester City, Wed 5 Jan 2011

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Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Barclays Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs misses out but should be available for the weekend's FA Cup tie with Leeds after recovering from an ankle injury.

Midfielder Abou Diaby (calf), goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (ankle) and centre-back Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) remain out.

Arsenal have so far enjoyed a decent return from their Christmas fixtures, beating Chelsea on December 27 before drawing at Wigan and then seeing off Birmingham 3-0 at St Andrew's on New Year's Day.

However, boss Arsene Wenger accepts things could have been even better.

"I have a two-point frustration, but I am very happy with the attitude of the players and the team and of the way we improve from game to game," added Wenger, who made eight changes for the trip to Wigan, where his side conceded a late equaliser against 10 men.

"There are five teams in the fight. Some teams have a bit more belief than others, but that can change very quickly. Overall it promises to be a very interesting sprint.

"You always have a team after Christmas who finds a momentum and this team will win the championship."

David Silva and Mario Balotelli have been ruled out for Manchester City.

The pair have failed to recover from their respective knee injuries, leaving manager Roberto Mancini to consider his options for the trip to north London.

City have not beaten the Gunners away from home since 1975 but know victory this time would open a five-point gap on Arsene Wenger's men.

But they know three points on this occasion will cement their status in the top-two, with Tottenham and Chelsea also trailing.

"It is time to change it," said Mancini, of the 35-year wait for an away win. "But I don't know if Arsenal will agree."

Clearly though, Mancini is intent on removing any pressure from his players' shoulders.

Having claimed earlier in the season that Chelsea would win the title, the Italian is sticking with his prediction, in addition raising doubts over his own side's ability to sustain a challenge whilst emphasising the additional experience of City's rivals.

"Chelsea have more chance," he said.

"They have a problem at this moment because Carlo (Ancelotti) has three or four important players injured.

"When you have that situation for two or three months, it is very difficult.

"But Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Tottenham all have more experience than us and, probably, one of these four teams will win the title.

"We just want to try and stay there and improve."

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