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It is a clash of the titan in the top four of the Premier League as Man City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Both teams are wounded and have much to play for to avoid losing more ground in the title race.
Even though Man City won their last match against Watford, the consecutive loss against leaders Chelsea and Champions Leicester City took its toll on their title credentials as they slipped to the fourth position. Arsenal also missed the chance to stay closer to Chelsea following their 1-2 loss at Everton and ending their unbeaten run that stretched back to the opening day of the season.
Of course, both teams are under pressure but Man City’s pressure is more pronounced. Pep Guradiola has escaped criticism probably because he is new to the Premier League but it may not belong again before he starts facing such unless there is a change in tide at the Etihad stadium.
A first win over Arsenal for three years will put them back in shape for title challenge but the Gunners too are prepared to avoid consecutive losses. Both are separated by a point with Arsenal in the third and City in the fourth position.
Arsenal has been scoring for fun until the defeat at Everton which could be tagged as a blip but a second consecutive loss will affect their momentum as they head into the hectic Xmas fixtures.
City will still be without suspended duo Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho while Ilkay Gindogan is sidelined after picking up a knee injury against Watford. Guardiola’s City have lost tow of their three clashes with team in the top six this season.
Arsene Wenger and the former Bayern Munich boss will be meeting in the Premier League for the first time though they have come up against each other in the Champion League and Gaurdiola has the upper hand.
The Gunners will be without centre-back Shkodran Mustafi who has been ruled out for the rest of the year. His absence will be felt in the defence as seeing in the Everton match.
Predicted Arsenal XI:
Cech; Monrea, Koscienly, Gabriel, Bellerin; Xhaka, Coequlin; Chamberlin, Ozil, Walcott; Sanchez.