Will the student become the master? We will find out with the return of the Premier League this week, as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Arteta, who said he learned an enormous amount working under Guardiola as his assistant, has had a promising start to life as Arsenal boss, albeit not an easy one.
In his first six months, he has had to deal with rehabilitating a fragile team on the brink of spontaneous combustion, the restoration of a disgraced club captain, and inadvertently halting English football with his diagnosis of coronavirus.
The Gunners currently sit in 9th position and are desperately looking for a return to the Champions League so a win in Manchester could inspire them to make an unlikely surge up the table. The home side, on the other hand, have virtually nothing to play for. With the title race effectively done and dusted and City looking good value for money in second place, Arsenal will be hungry for a much-needed triumph.
Previous Meetings In All Competitions
15th December 2019: Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
3rd February 2019: Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal
12th August 2018: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
1st March 2018: Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
25th February 2018: Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
This does not paint a pretty picture for Arsenal. They haven’t beaten the Mancunians in the league since December 2015 and have scored just two goals to City’s 14 in their last five league meetings.
Leroy Sane has made a return to the Manchester City first team after a lengthy spell out due to a serious knee injury suffered against Liverpool in the Community Shield last August.
Arsenal have two fitness concerns with Lucas Torreira (ankle) and Calum Chambers (knee) both nursing injuries. Although they are both in training, it is unlikely for them to make the starting line-up.
Loanee Cedric Soares could make his Arsenal debut.
Arsenal will be heartened by results in the Bundesliga suggesting that home advantage is a thing of the past with the absence of fans. However, the hosts are 17 points clear of the visitors for a reason and they simply have too much quality. The only hope Arsenal have for an upset is that Arteta has a deep knowledge and understanding of City’s players and tactics.
Match preview written by Owen Lloyd.