Premier League: Arsenal face nerve-racking test against City

Arsenal followed up their unexpected defeat by relegation-threatened Everton with a 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday

By Reuters

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Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli (centre right) and Brentford's Ethan Pinnock (centre left) challenge for the ball during the Premier League match on Saturday. — AP
Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli (centre right) and Brentford's Ethan Pinnock (centre left) challenge for the ball during the Premier League match on Saturday. — AP

Published: Tue 14 Feb 2023, 8:23 PM

Wednesday’s pivotal Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City could hardly be more ill-timed for the North London side who are winless in consecutive league games for the first time this season.

Arsenal are looking to win the league title for the first time in 19 years, yet approaching a game at the Emirates which has such big implications in the midst of their current slump will be undesirable for manager Mikel Arteta.

His side followed up their unexpected defeat by relegation-threatened Everton with a 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

The result meant Arsenal slipped to only a three-point advantage over City with a game in hand.

They had 23 shots to Brentford’s nine, but looked uncomfortable and struggled to make any real progress when faced with the opposition’s steely rearguard performance.

A rare saving grace for the Gunners may be seen in January signing Leandro Trossard’s impressive performance as the second-half substitute provided a much needed goal – a performance which could settle any nerves Arteta may have had about his side's issues in the final third.

CITY RESURGENT

While Arsenal continued to look far from their best, City resumed their ascendency as they strolled past Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday.

City boss Pep Guardiola has lifted the league crown on four occasions since joining the club in 2016 and appears to have led his side to a recovery from a mini slump of their own in recent weeks.

Losses to Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in their five matches leading up to Sunday’s victory had blotted their record.

However, they wrapped up the game by halftime against Villa and appeared closer to their usual selves.

The rampant City which had been lacking had returned, and goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez before the break will have left Guardiola breathing a sigh of relief with a view to Wednesday -- even though top scorer Erling Haaland is an injury doubt after being forced off on Sunday.

Their resurgence, coupled with their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup in January, should provide confidence for City that they can produce the performance needed to close in on the top spot and go on to retain the title.

Fixtures

(UAE Time)

Wednesday

Premier League

Arsenal v Manchester City (11:30 pm)

Champions League

Club Brugge v Benfica (11:55 pm)

Dortmund v Chelsea (11:55 pm)

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