Saturday, 7 April 2012

City vs Arsenal: Match Preview

This is going to be a tough challenge... which I hope we overcome. 1-0 City

By Aaron Leggott

It is that time of the season that most fans hate. Sleep loss is common during this period, especially if your team is involved in some form of battle - whether it to stay in the league or become the Champions.

City fans have endured many sleepless nights throughout the past half century and that sinking feeling is starting to take precedence at a time when local rivals Manchester United are stretching their lead at the top of the Premier League.

This time five months ago we were expecting City to wipe the floor with everyone who attempted to halt their race to the title - and Roberto Mancini's men were fulfilling our expectations on a weekly basis.

However, with the increasing strains of a title race, things have changed in 2012. Whether it be the departure of Yaya Toure for a month in January, losing Vincent Kompany from injuries and suspensions - along with Mario Balotelli - it has been an almighty shock to the system.

In defence of City, we haven't actually played that badly. Had we of been playing like this 12 months ago, we would be sitting comfortably at the top of the pile and dreaming of our first Premier League success. Unfortunately, the form shown by United has been remarkable and you cannot afford to drop any points when they are in that sort of form.

With a five point gap at the top, a trip to the Emirates Stadium would have been at the bottom of Mancini's wish list following a disappointing 3-3 draw at home to Sunderland last weekend. 

Without a league win at Arsenal for 37 years, tomorrow is not the easiest time to make the trip up to North London. But with a win needed, the imminent return of Joleon Lescott and Sergio Aguero from injury will be a great boost to City.

It will be music to City fans' ears with Robin van Persie lining up for the Gunners, as he lines up to be only the fourth player in Premier League history to score against 17 different Premier League teams in one season.

Player watch:

                                      Robin van Persie          vs          Sergio Aguero 

RVP Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe    Aguero Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe

I think it's clear that tomorrow's game will be won in the final third. I know it's a cliche, but when two teams have strikers like van Persie and Aguero, you know it will be difficult to keep those sort of players out. In my opinion, van Persie is the best striker in the world at the moment, and his stats prove that. With 26 goals from 30 games, he is in his best ever form.

However, without a goal in his last three games, we'll have to hope this trend continues. Arsenal are in great form at the moment though, and with an 84% passing accuracy, they have the options to feed van Persie his goals to win the game.

Unfortunately, our main playmaker is having a horrible spell of form and personally I would drop Silva tomorrow and play Milner in his place. The key is Aguero though, and with 17 goals from 27 games, we need him to be fit if we are to have a chance.

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