Arsenal vs. Manchester City: 3 key Duels That Will Decide The Crucial Game

On Saturday, City will take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, aiming to prove that they are miles ahead of their contemporaries, having outclassed Liverpool earlier in the season. Arsenal, on the other hand, will want to slay last season’s winners and prove that they have the gumption to mount a real fight for the title. The die is loaded against Arsenal, if you look at their past record against top teams, and their capitulation against City last year will enable City to be more confident about their chances of success.

Three duels that would be key to both sides:

1. Yaya Toure v. Mathieu Flamini:

With the arrival of Fernando this season, Yaya has been given a more advanced role on the pitch. He is City’s playmaker, and can easily find Silva or Nasri on the right or on the left, and Aguero through the centre. Flamini has been used by Wenger as the solitary defensive midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 system, so that Ramsey can play further up the pitch and add to his goal tally. Flamini will have to stop Yaya from taking the game away, with a few well put-in tackles, while Yaya will have to shrug off these challenges to finally get his season off the mark, after some uninspiring performances in the earlier games. Flamini will have to be at his best, to retain possession and keep moving the ball forward for Arsenal.

2. Sergio Aguero v. Per Mertesacker:

Sergio Aguero has been at the forefront of City’s attack for quite some time now, while Per Mertesacker has been the rock of Arsenal’s defence and the orchestrator at the back. Both players have just got back to full fitness for their respective clubs after a long World Cup and will be wanting to hit top gear as soon as possible. Agüero can be a menace, as he will dovetail with Nasri, an ex-Arsenal player and Silva, who will wreak havoc on the Arsenal defence, if left to their own devices.

Mertesacker and company will have to put an end to attacks quickly so that City are not able to break through. He will have to lead the defence, and his experience will be important to Arsenal’s chances of keeping a clean sheet, against attackers such as Agüero, Dzeko, Silva and Nasri.

3. Vincent Kompany v. Danny Welbeck:

Kompany has been City’s undisputed leader, while Welbeck is the new arrival at Arsenal, who would take the field to impress his new boss and fans. If Wenger starts with Welbeck upfront, expect Kompany to rough Welbeck up a bit. Welbeck has a long rope courtesy of Giroud’s injury, and Welbeck will want to prove that he is better than the statements that Louis can Gaal has made about his transfer over the past week, by catalyzing the Arsenal attack, as they will seek a victory against one of the top-4 sides after losing the title due to their inability to win crunch games. Kompany has led City’s defence with aplomb, playing at his best, as he will hope that he can have a relatively injury-free season, so that he can lead City’s title defence, by keeping clean sheets and not conceding too many goals at the back.

Also, City have prised away too many Arsenal players in the past, which combined with the fact that Arsenal capitulated against them last season, will lead to a raucous audience, which will express love or hate for the players. Players like Nasri, Sagna, Clichy who moved to City while at the peak of their careers, to win titles, will be targeted by the crowd, as Arsenal will be cheered on.

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