Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Saturday November 22 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
22nd November 2008
A very interesting game for both teams as City still pretty much in the dolldrums and Arsenal being in the papers for all the wrong reasons with Gallas should make for quite a passionate game.
Mark Hughes talks about what Arsenal will come to the stadium with: "It`s difficult to say. Away from home possibly they`re more dangerous at the moment because when teams go to the Emirates Stadium they know they`re going to be under pressure and have everyone behind the ball and hope for a break.
"They`ve been caught out in recent weeks as a consequence of that. Away from home they can draw the home side on to them and then break with pace and power, which they have in abundance, so you have to be very careful."
Mark then goes on to talk about the qualities of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side: "Everyone`s got a huge respect for the type of football that Arsenal can produce," he stated. "What you need to make sure is that you don`t get sucked in to their tempo and try to impose your will on them.
"I`ve had positive results in the past against Arsenal by basically just breaking up their tempo and making sure they don`t have things their own way.
"You have to impose your game plan on them and ask questions of them because if you concede too much ground against Arsenal they`re very adept at changing the play and the focus of their attacking threat that`s when mistakes can happen and they capitalise on them.
"They`ve got outstanding individual talent as well as a great work ethic and the ability to be very dangerous."
City, like Arsenal, had numerous players away on international duty this week and will assess their fitness ahead of the clash, with the likes of Brazilian duo Elano and Robinho not back until Friday.
Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes faces a late fitness test while goalkeeper Joe Hart is unavailable after he injured his ankle at the KC Stadium which has led City to search for an emergency loan goalkeeper having been turned down by Marcus Hedman.
Captain Richard Dunne has completed his one-match ban while Danny Sturridge has returned to training following three weeks out with an ankle injury.
Caciedo, Ball and Hamann all came through a reserve match but Jo came off with a bit of a knock.
Martin Petrov has had his knee surgery and will probably be out until the beginning of March.
Benjani continues to gain match fitness and should start up front for City.
The player is the hub of City at the moment as his energy and great skill is a real asset for City as they go through this transition period of inconsistent play.
With William Gallas absent from the squad and defender Kolo Toure set to miss out with a calf problem that will leave Arsenal very weak at the back. While Emmanuel Eboue (knee) and Cesc Fabregas (suspended) will not feature.
The Gunners' woes are compounded with the news that Theo Walcott is out for three months after he dislocated his shoulder while training with England on Tuesday.
Wenger does have Robin van Persie at his disposal after the Dutchman served a three-match ban and Emmanuel Adebayor will be pushing for a starting role after making his comeback from injury last weekend.
Since his arrival at Arsenal he has been a major thorn in City's side and has scored regularly against the Citizens.
City have only beaten Arsenal once in the premiership and that was two seasons agon in August 2006 when a Joey Barton penalty seperated the two sides.
Arsenal have always had a very good record against City and it has just improved since the inception of the premier league back in 1992.
City gave Arsenal a good game last season but a late Adebayor goal sealed it for the Arsenal
A G Wiley - he has referee'd one game each this season for both sides with City beating Portsmouth 6 - 0 and Arsenal losing 2 - 1 at home to Hull and so the omens might be w.ith City.
Arsenal will be hurting from all this bad press recently and they will either be very poor and City will exploit that; but I am in the camp that their great run against City will continue. MCFC 1 - 2 AFC.
Schalke FC in the UEFA cup on Thursday 27th November with kick off at 6pm GMT.
Date:Saturday November 22 2008
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