Super Sunday concludes with arguably the most-anticipated game of the weekend as defending champions Manchester City host Arsenal.
Manchester City have won six of their last seven at home in the Premier League but have conceded two goals in each of their past two at the Etihad Stadium – a 2-2 draw with Burnley followed by a 3-2 win over Sunderland.
Arsenal have won only one of their last four away from home and not kept a clean sheet in either of those.
New signing Wilfried Bony won’t be able to make his debut until next month at the earliest as he is away with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations for the remainder of this month.
Yaya Touré is also away with the Ivory Coast.
Manuel Pellegrini could have Edin Džeko back this weekend and they certainly have Sergio Agüero back after the Argentine played the final 24 minutes at Everton last weekend. He looked well short of fitness in that match but has had a week to get himself in shape since.
Captain Vincent Kompany is also ready to return.
Arsène Wenger doesn’t have any players missing because of the African Cup of Nations but he does have a few injuries to deal with.
Mathieu Denbuchy is set for a three-month spell on the sidelines after requiring surgery on his dislocated shoulder. Either Calum Chambers or Héctor Bellerín will start at right-back.
Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta are both also sidelined giving Wenger two less options in the centre of midfield. Aaron Ramsey is ready to make his return.
Danny Welbeck is out with a thigh injury for a third consecutive week.
Manchester City are close to full strength if Vincent Kompany and Sergio Agüero are good to go from the start. No place in our predicted lineup for former-Gunne Bacary Sagna, but both Gaël Clichy and Samir Nasri face their former club. David Silva plays in behind the striker.
David Ospina made his Premier League debut last weekend and it could be make or break for the Colombian this weekend. We’re going with the more-experienced of the two young right-backs to start this one. Aaron Ramsey can return in centre midfield to partner Francis Coquelin. The young French midfielder has played well since getting his opportunity – now faces the biggest game of his career so far, against David Silva. Danny Welbeck’s injury probably forces Alexis Sánchez to the left.
David Silva vs Francis Coquelin
Manchester City have one of the best playmakers in world football and Arsenal’s young defensive midfielder will need to have a good game if they’re to get anything on Sunday. Silva has Agüero ahead of him in a favourable matchup versus Per Mertesacker so Coquelin really cannot afford to give the Spaniard much time. He’ll also need to be quick and energetic to keep up with David Silva’s movement, runs into the box and quick feet with the ball.
Alexis Sánchez vs Pablo Zabaleta
Pablo Zabaleta has had a poor few weeks – giving away stupid free kicks, even a penalty versus Sunderland, picking up yellow cards and getting beat. If the Argentine doesn’t return to his best this weekend then Alexis Sánchez is more than capable of turning him inside-out. The Chilean is full of energy, runs at defenders, creates chances and scores goals. One of the best in the Premier League this season and will probably fancy his chances cutting inside Zabaleta to cause havoc amongst the Manchester City defence in this one.
Sergio Agüero vs Per Mertesacker
Manchester City’s Argentine can certainly have the beating of Arsenal’s tall German if it comes down to pace and movement in this one. Sergio Agüero was far from his best in his cameo appearance last weekend so it will be interesting to see how much he has improved since then with a week to prepare for this one. Arsenal’s defence not performed too well on the road of late and Mertesacker may be looking for his defensive partner Laurent Koscielny for support in order not to be exposed on Sunday.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal
Whilst Arsenal’s away form has not been convincing Manchester City are not in full flow of late. Drawing with Burnley, narrowly beating Sunderland – they’ve got some defensive issues of their own. Vincent Kompany and Sergio Agüero have not seen much playing time for a while and Yaya Touré is a loss in midfield. The Gunners have a useful attacking side capable to putting a goal or two past Joe Hart in this one. Arsenal are unbeaten in both competitive meetings between these two this season – beating City 3-0 in the Community Shield and then drawing their Premier League meeting 2-2 at the Emirates. The North London side have only got better since then.