PREVIEW: Arsenal

Sunday 13 January 2013 | Emirates Stadium | Kick-off 16:00

Tickets: A few still available. Box Office: 0844 277 3625

Last Season: Arsenal 1 – 0 Man City

Referee: Mike Dean; Assistants: S Ledger, J Brooks; Fourth official: M Oliver.

Team News:

ARSENAL – Olivier Giroud will have a late fitness test on his knee, whilst Gervinho definitely misses out because he is away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast. Abou Diaby could play for the first time in 3 months after recovering from a thigh problem, and Andre Santos (stomach muscle) remains sidelined.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Walcott, Mannone, Giroud, Ramsey, Koscielny, Rosicky, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Diaby

CITY – Yaya and Kolo Toure are both out due to their involvement in the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, as is Abdul Razak. Samir Nasri misses the return to his former club due to suspension, and striker Sergio Aguero has a hamstring injury and won’t play. Maicon, Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell are all still out, but Aleksander Kolarov is back in contention.

Man City (from): Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Lescott, Kolarov, Clichy, Rekik, Milner, Barry, Garcia, Sinclair, Silva, Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli, Lopes, Suarez.

Stats:

Arsenal have missed their last three penalties taken against City. The most famous being the Henry/Pires mix up at Highbury.

City have allowed their opponents just 56 shots on target against them this season, the fewest in the top flight.

City have conceded 58% of their goals from set pieces, the highest amount in the Premier League this season.

Carlos Tevez has been scoring and providing goals at a better rate than almost anyone in the Premier League this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He’s ranked second for combine goals and assists with 17.

Edin Dzeko is managing to edge out his striker colleagues in the battle for City’s most accurate frontman. He has a shot on target rate of 63% from 35 attempts, compared to 61% from 54 for Sergio Aguero and 62% from 60 attempts for Carlos Tevez

City have failed to score in each of their last five Premier League visits to the Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott looks set to sign a new contract and his recent form has been key to his negotiating position. The pacy striker has been flourishing a more central role this season, establishing himself as the club’s top scorer with 8 and a accuracy rate of 73% for 33 shots.

Jack Wilshere may have been injured for almost a year but he’s clearly intent on making up for lost time. The midfield prodigy has completed 351 passes in his opponent’s half this season, at a rate of one every 2.5 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

His midfield partner Santi Cazorla remains the driving creative force in the Arsenal line-up however, the Spanish magician compiling an incredible 793 successful passes in the upper half of the pitch, to complement his 14 dribbles, also a squad record.

Stats courtesy of Opta City & By Far The Greatest Team

Press Conference:

Roberto Mancini’s press conference is available to watch below. The Italian said:

We are missing a number of important players but we can go there and come away with a good result. We are seven points behind United at present but I don’t feel we deserve to be so many points behind.

Arsene Wenger said in his press conference that a win against City would be a huge boost to his side.

A win against City would improve the confidence of the team. It would help to improve the confidence of the team – that is very important. You can see that it is important for every team.

Inside the Opposition:

We interviewed Football Agenda, an Arsenal fan and brilliant football tweeter, to hear his thoughts on the game. Read it here.

Read our Preview in Quotes piece here

Fixtures:

All matches kick-off at 3pm unless otherwise stated

Saturday

QPR vs Tottenham (12.45pm)

Aston Villa vs Southampton

Everton vs Swansea

Fulham vs Wigan

Norwich vs Newcastle

Reading vs West Brom

Stoke vs Chelsea

Sunderland vs West Ham

Sunday

Manchester United vs Liverpool (1.30pm)

Arsenal vs Manchester City (4pm)

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