Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday
Draws against Stoke City and Liverpool before the international break slowed Manchester City’s momentum in the race for the Champions League places. They had won four matches in a row – conceding only once – before the drab home draw against Mark Hughes’ side. Pep Guardiola then described the shared points against Liverpool as one of the best days in his managerial career although the jury is still very much out on that assessment.
City could be down in fourth by the time the game kicks off – depending on how Liverpool fare in the Merseyside derby – but could move up to second with a win if Tottenham fail to do the business away from home against Burnley.
A win against Arsenal would also put Guardiola’s side 10 points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League table and that could spell the end for Arsene Wenger’s Champions League ambitions.
But this is a crucial period for City as Sunday’s game is followed by another trip to London in midweek when they face champions-elect Chelsea. Any slip up will be hunted down not only by the Gunners but also city rivals Manchester United with the derby looming on the horizon.
Guardiola’s team have done well to remain unbeaten in the league since capitulating against Everton in January but there remain massive tests ahead before objectives can be said to be fulfilled. That all begins at the Emirates on Sunday.
MAN CITY INJURIES
Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne missed Belgium’s World Cup qualification draw against Greece as well as the friendly against Russia in Sochi after sustaining a groin injury and his participation could be in doubt.
Guardiola also has problems at right back where Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta have both been nursing injuries. Sagna pulled out of the French squad for their qualifier against Luxembourg after a scan revealed a tear in his left adductor muscle. Zabaleta did not play for Argentina in their World Cup qualifiers after a thigh strain.
Raheem Sterling had a slight back strain during England’s qualifier against Lithuania but that is not expected to keep him out.
Long-term injury casualties include Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus.
MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS
Manchester City have no players suspended for this match.
MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
De Bruyne is back in training and if passed fit will start in midfield alongside David Silva.
Fernandinho could well be pressed into action at right back considering the problems Guardiola has there with Sagna and Zabaleta, in which case Yaya Toure could start in midfield.
Sterling’s strain will not be enough to keep him out and he will start on the right side.
Sergio Aguero is out of favour with Argentina but is very much needed at his club since Gabriel Jesus is injured.
Fellow Argentine Nicolas Otamendi also flew back late in the week from South America and is in contention to start alongside John Stones if Pep opts for the same back four which earned a draw against Liverpool.
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
Goalkeeper Petr Cech has a hamstring injury and David Ospina will play instead. There will be no place either for Lucas Perez who is suffering from a thigh problem. Mesut Ozil is expected to start.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Arsenal have lost only one of 19 previous home Premier League matches against Manchester City (W11 D6).
Manchester City are looking to the double over Arsenal in a league season for the first time since 1975/76.
The last seven Premier League meetings between these two sides have produced 27 goals – 3.86 per game, on average.
Arsene Wenger has won just two of his previous nine competitive meetings with Pep Guardiola (W2 D2 L5), both in the Champions League.
This is only the second time that Arsenal have found themselves outside the top five in the Premier League as late as April in a season under Arsene Wenger – the other occasion was in April 2006.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game kicks off at 16:00 BST time on Sunday April 2, and is available on Sky Sports 1 in the UK.