Man City vs Arsenal LIVE!
Arsenal are looking to continue their excellent start to the season as they begin a nightmare run of fixtures with a trip to Manchester City today.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have won three out of four in the Premier League but now face a testing run, with the start of their Europa League campaign sandwiched between games against City, Leicester and Manchester United.
City, meanwhile, will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways following a 1-1 draw with Leeds and a 5-2 thumping at the hands of Leicester prior to the international break.
With kick-off at 5:30pm BST, follow the match action, news and reaction with James Robson at the Etihad!
Team news will be out at 4:30pm, so watch this space…
This campaign has already thrown up several stunning results, with City beaten 5-2 at home to Leicester last month while Aston Villa battered Liverpool 7-2 immediately before the international break.
But Guardiola expects a return to the status quo soon, adding: “It’s an exceptional situation – and all around the world it’s exceptional, these six, seven, eight goals per game it’s not normal.
“I think it will settle normally. There’s a lot of teams, many games especially in Europe and it will be difficult to know exactly what is going on.”
Today’s early match saw a thrilling Merseyside derby end 2-2 at Goodison Park.
That result leaves Everton top with 13 points from five games, and Liverpool second on 10 points.
While it’s not necessarily healthy to pay too much attention to the table early doors, that draw means Arsenal could go within a point of League leaders Everton if they win today in Manchester.
Guardiola says it is no shock to him that Arteta has provided a sense of stability at Arsenal, leading them to FA Cup glory last season, defeating his former club and old boss en route to lifting the trophy.
“Maybe we should clarify who’s the master and who’s the apprentice first,” Guardiola said. “All the people who know him, we didn’t have any doubts about what he’s doing in a short period of time.
“He settled really well and the way his team is playing right now is perfect for the quality they have. He was able to get Arsenal back to the position where they were a long time ago.
“He’s doing really well in all competitions. Mikel is a competitor and a fighter. All the people who love him, we are more than happy with what he’s doing in London.”
Guardiola won’t rush Jesus
Gabriel Jesus will be absent today with no chances being taken on his injury, but Guardiola offered a more upbeat assessment about the Brazilian’s fellow striker Sergio Aguero.
City’s record goal-scorer has recently returned to training following a knee operation in June that saw him miss key fixtures at the end of last season and the Argentinian could be included in the matchday squad to face Arsenal.
“He’s trained well and we are happy, we need a striker, we played without them but he’s trained three or four days, we are happy to see him back on the pitch after a long time,” Guardiola said.
Guardiola: De Bruyne absence shows players are at risk
Pep Guardiola believes Kevin De Bruyne was pushed to the limit by the swift turnaround in Premier League seasons, and has urged footballing authorities to take steps to reduce players’ heavy workload.
De Bruyne will miss the game against Arsenal today after he returned from Belgium duty with an unspecified knock, which also seems set to rule him out of City’s Champions League opener against Porto next week.
Guardiola was reluctant to put a timeframe on De Bruyne’s recovery but revealed the playmaker having just eight days’ rest in-between top-flight campaigns allied to a lack of pre-season were likely contributors to his injury.
“Kevin said he had eight days after last season which was incredibly demanding,” Guardiola said. “No pre-season, eight days off, eight days holidays, he was with his family with his newborn, he has to be at home.
“He cannot go on holiday, rest, he trained here and played really good as always but at the end the boy has a limit and he gets injured. It’s too much. Hopefully we go with the new ideas the Premier League has, they will point to quality and not quantity – if not we’ll rubbish this incredible sport.”
So, here’s how we see the Gunners shaping up today…
Predicted XI (3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Tierney set to play after quarantine
Mikel Arteta is expected to be have Kieran Tierney available – who has been in quarantine after being in close contact with his Scotland team-mate Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
Tierney has since tested negative for the virus and Arsenal want him to play, with Celtic boss Neil Lennon confirming the Gunners have permission to play him after revealing he has not been allowed to select his players who were in close contact with Armstrong.
That means a back three of Gabriel, Tierney and Rob Holding are likely to start at the Etihad, unless David Luiz is given the nod instead.
What do the bookmakers think?
Manchester City are firm favourites to win this one, as you’d expect, with Arsenal not having won at the Etihad since 2015. Betfair make them a 1/2 chance to take all three points, with the draw at 4/1 and Arsenal 11/2 to produce an upset.
Ozil and Sokratis facing exile
The only issue with signing Partey is that it took Arsenal’s non-homegrown quota in their squad to 19, which is two above the 17 allowed by the Premier League and UEFA.
As a result, Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were left out of the Gunners’ squad for the Europa League and are due to be omitted from the Premier League one, too — which must be submitted on October 20.
It leaves the pair with the prospect of not playing until January, but Arteta is not worried about their attitude becoming an issue. “I don’t doubt the professionalism of the players. I already spoke to them and told them,” he said.
“It was a difficult conversation but this is the issue that we have. We tried to resolve that, tried to get players opportunities elsewhere. We weren’t able to do that and now it is just about trying to keep them motivated.”
Partey ‘will give us something we don’t have’
Mikel Arteta has also been discussing exactly what it is that Thomas Partey can bring to his Arsenal side.
“Thomas is going to give us more versatility in our way of playing,” Arteta said. “He can play in two or three different positions when we are able to change formations or game plans against opponents
“He will give us something that at the moment we don’t have in the team.
“We need a balance between the young players we have in breakthrough or development phases and others that are at the peak or twilight of their careers.
“Thomas is the right recruit for us in terms of age, his history and career, where he has been educated, the amount of experience he has and the quality that he has to adapt to our game.”
Arteta: Partey signing shows board intent
Partey’s arrival looks a statement signing for Arsenal and, Arteta believes, also shows how committed the club’s owner, Stan Kroenke, is to restoring the Gunners to their former glory.
“It is good that sometimes words are not enough,” Arteta said.
“I think you asked me the day before or two days before [the transfer window shut] if I felt we had the backing and the right connections with the ownership, if they were involved and willing to do as much as possible to help the squad. I said yes and that I was very, very convinced about that.
“Even if that [signing Partey] wouldn’t have happened, I would have still said the same thing. But they showed this time, with big funds, they are really committed.”
Will Arteta have a Partey?
That’s the question on everyone’s lips heading into this one. Thomas Partey arrived at Arsenal in a £45million move on deadline day and could make his debut this afternoon.
He’s been training with his new teammates at London Colney after returning from international duty with Ghana…
Arsenal have come a long way since falling to City in their opening restart game in June last season.
Mikel Arteta has used the time since to shape the team into something more like it.
As for signings, while Thomas Partey is a long way from representing the last piece of the jigsaw, the big man’s arrival certainly lends midfield a lot more substance.
More versatility, too, because Partey isn’t restricted to the holding role.
Whatever the result here, I fancy the Gunners to create a few chances against a City team embarrassed by Leicester in their last home game.
Today’s game kicks off at 5:30pm BST at the Etihad, but we will be bringing you all the latest news and build-up to the match.
James Robson will be at the stadium with expert in-game coverage and post-match analysis.
Kick-off time and venue
Manchester City vs Arsenal is scheduled for a 5:30pm BST kick-off today.
The match will be behind closed doors at Etihad Stadium with no fans due to be present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
How to watch
TV channel: Manchester City vs Arsenal will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Main Event, and is available via Now TV with a day pass for £9.99.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via SkyGo and the SkyGo app, with a mobile month pass available for £5.99.
Thomas Partey is unlikely to start for Arsenal given he has only trained a few times with his new team-mates. The midfielder arrived at Arsenal on transfer deadline day for £45million from Atletico Madrid, but he only trained for the first time on Thursday after being away on international duty with Ghana.
It means Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka are likely to play in midfield for Arsenal, although Mohamed Elneny is pushing to start too. In defence, Mikel Arteta is expected to be have Kieran Tierney available – who has been in quarantine after being in close contact with his Scotland team-mate Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
Tierney has since tested negative for the virus and Arsenal want him to play, with Celtic boss Neil Lennon confirming the Gunners have permission to play him after revealing he has not been allowed to select his players who were in close contact with Armstrong. That means a back three of Gabriel, Tierney and Rob Holding are likely to start at the Etihad, unless David Luiz is given the nod instead.
In attack, Alexandre Lacazette is expected to lead the line and he will be flanked by Willian and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal predicted lineup (3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Kevin de Bruyne is out for City after leaving Belgium’s camp early, as is Raheem Sterling, who pulled out of England’s squad before the international break began.
Prediction: Man City 2-1 Arsenal
Mikel Arteta got the better of his old master in last season’s FA Cup semi-final and will surely employ a similar approach, but Tierney will be a huge miss, both for his defensive solidity and the balance he brings going forward.
City can ill-afford to lose further early ground in the title race.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Arsenal have not beaten Man City in the league since 2015, though they have come out on top in two FA Cup semi-finals in the same period.
In all, the clubs have met on 200 occasions, with Arsenal winning 98, City 57 and the other 45 ending in draws.
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