Manchester City v Arsenal

Manchester City need to get back to winning ways against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in order to hold on to their precarious place in the Premier League’s top four.

Premier League
08 April 2016
Kick-off: 16:00GMT
Venue: Etihad Stadium

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: L. Betts, S. Burt
Fourth official: M. Jones

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Man City 167 41 40 86
Arsenal 167 86 40 41

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 2-1 Man City 21/12/15 (Premier League)
Arsenal goalscorers: T. Walcott (33′), O. Giroud (45 1′,)
Man City goalscorer: Y. Toure (82′)

Players to watch:

Kelechi Iheanacho has scored four goals in his last two Premier League outings and has been by far the standout player in the Citizens’ squad in recent weeks.

The young Nigerian was left out of the starting line-up in both legs of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and City didn’t manage a goal in either match.

Arsenal’s defence has not conceded a goal for three matches with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny putting in some sterling performances at the back, but with the German international picking up a hamstring injury, all eyes are going to be on Gabriel Paulista to see if their defensive stability holds.

Team form and manager quotes:

Manchester City fell to a disappointing 4-2 loss to Southampton last time out in the Premier League before getting knocked out of the Champions League by Los Blancos on Wednesday, leaving their position in the top four of the English top flight in some jeopardy.

Rivals Manchester United are now just four points behind with a game in hand and, if City drop more points against Arsenal, there is a very real possibility incoming manager Pep Guardiola may not have Champions League football to look forward to next season.

“It is still a very important game because part of the responsibility of being a professional is to prepare the future, and the future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game,” said manager Manuel Pellegrini in his pre-match press conference.

“Our target now is to secure a position in the Champions League next year and, if possible, to get in second place or at least secure third place. On Sunday, we can achieve that.”

The Gunners are only three points ahead of City themselves and still harbour hopes of overhauling north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in second place in the Premier League.

“It is still a very important game because part of the responsibility of being a professional is to prepare the future, and the future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game,” said manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the game.

“Our target now is to secure a position in the Champions League next year and, if possible, to get in second place or at least secure third place. On Sunday, we can achieve that.”

Team news:

Per Mertesacker’s hamstring strain is the only fresh injury concern for Wenger, who will otherwise have the rest of the squad that played against Norwich available to him.

Yaya Toure is likely to retain his place in the center of Manchester City’s midfield, with David Silva still struggling with a hamstring injury, while Alexander Kolarov (knock), Vincent Kompany (groin) and Pablo Zabaleta (calf) all remain sidelined.

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