Arsenal meet Manchester City on Saturday knowing that realistically only three points would keep their slim hopes of winning the Premier League title alive. But lose against Manuel Pellegrini’s side and Arsenal shall be looking over their shoulders, as Everton bid to replace them in the top four.
Seven days ago and the Gunners were entering into Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game as the club’s manager optimistic that victory over Chelsea would place them very much in contention to clinch the league crown this term. However, a 6-0 drubbing and a draw against Swansea since means they have now dropped some six points off the pace.
Wenger appeared to give up on the title after Swansea’s late leveller at the Emirates Stadium, but was defiant at his pre-Manchester City press conference, claiming that the deficit can still be overturned before the end of the season.
There will be no more difficult encounter than City from which Arsenal must strive to regain momentum, with the Sky Blues the favourites to clinch glory come May given the two games in hand they retain over leaders Chelsea.
Injuries mean Arsenal must stick with almost the same team that were unable to overcome Swansea on Tuesday, with Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini set to be retained, meaning Wenger’s side will lack the dynamism he would surely crave against the Citizens.
The only likely change would seem to be Tomas Rosicky or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropping out in favour of Lukas Podolski, and the latter appears more likely to keep his place even if he performed poorly in the week.
Arsenal predicted XI to face Manchester City
Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs; Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla; Olivier Giroud.