How Arsenal can beat Manchester City

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Following their qualification through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League in midweek, Arsenal travel to take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have an intimidating home record this season, with the Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham humiliated 6-0 in Manchester last month.

However, with Arsenal having the momentum of strong early season form, here is how they can beat City this weekend.

Flamini must start

Mathieu Flamini

Arsene Wenger has shuffled his pack in midfield this season, with not enough room for all the star performers at his disposal.

However, despite the offensive talent in the centre of the park for Arsenal, Mathieu Flamini must get a start for the visitors here.

Not only is the Frenchman combative, hardworking and possesses positional awareness, he organises others around him and will add a barrier to the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure in the middle of the park.

Defensive solidarity

City have scored the most goals in the division this term, while Arsenal have conceded the fewest – something has to give.

Arsenal’s back four has looked solid under pressure this term, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny especially impressive in the heart of the rearguard.

If this pair can organise themselves and their full-backs, they have as good a chance as anyone of shutting out the free-scoring City this term.

Overlapping full-backs

Kieran Gibbs

In Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1 system, the wingers are real attacking threats, with Silva, Samir Nasri or Jesus Navas set to feature. However, despite their ability going forward, none of the three have overarching tendencies to defend.

As such, Wenger will urge the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson to get forward as much as possible to create two-on-one opportunities against the City full-backs.

Bacary Sagna’s delivery from wide will be a miss, but the starting full-backs for Arsenal could have an opportunity to find themselves in space and fire crosses towards Olivier Giroud.

Look to Ramsey and Ozil

City’s attacking prowess can certainly be rivalled by that of Arsenal, who on form this term have played some scintillating possession football and cut opponents to ribbons at times.

Wenger will look to his main ball players such as Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil to get in possession and influence things. When this pair fire, Arsenal have the ability to beat anyone in England, including City.

The pair had off games against Manchester United at Old Trafford when Arsenal were beaten 1-0, and this time round getting their creative players on the ball and in space will be key to the visitors’ chances.

Play to win

Mesut Ozil

Against Napoli in midweek, Arsenal looked like a side that knew that all they had to do was avoid a 3-0 defeat. In the end they did, but Wenger’s men were still beaten 2-0.

If Arsenal adopt a damage limitation or defensive outlook here, City have the quality to cut them open and win the game.

However, an enterprising mentality by the London side could see them push City back and allow Arsenal to create chances – attack is the best form of defence.

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