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VMC Preview: The Blues v The Gunners

Manchester CITY

The City Of Manchester Stadium

Saturday 12th September 2009

1500 BST

Here comes the first of the clashes everyone across Planet Blue and beyond has been waiting for as Mark Hughes' revitalised City squad begin to take on The Big Four...

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes:

'They are an outstanding side and if you allow them to dictate play and get their tails up they have the ability to hurt you collectively and individually. They know we will be a test, certainly at home, where we were outstanding against them last season when we won 3-0.

'We were very good value for that win, so we go into this game with no apprehension, because we know we can compete against them.'

Emmanuel Adebayor:

'After just a week at City, I could feel that the supporters believed in me and were willing me to do well. They sing songs about me and they love me. I'm so happy because I'm really enjoying myself again. I certainly feel very at home, very comfortable. The staff and the supporters have made me feel very welcome and I think that is being reflected on the pitch. Now I want to repay that faith and love. What you can see now is a confident player...
I feel loved again and that's why I'm smiling again.'

Arsene Wenger:

"There are no hard feelings for Toure or Adebayor. I always wish my former players to be happy. It is part of life that players move on. That is not a reason that you want them not to be happy.

"I believe City are a good side because they have good players and a good level of confidence because they started well. It will be an interesting test."

Manchester CITY Team News:

Crocky Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson are still rehabilitating, but we understand that the classy Vincent Kompany might make the bench.

Carlos Tevez is definitely out with an international duty twisted knee and the jet lagged Robinho's thigh knock from the same game might not see him risked ahead of the Manchester derby.

Opportunity knocks for jet heeled players Martin Petrov and Craig Bellamy.

Player to watch: Gareth Barry

Twice VMC's MOTM poll winner in this campaign, Barry's big engined box to box running has been key to City's winning start to the season. We've not a had a midfield general of his calibre in years and his ability to be seemingly everywhere will be crucial if Arsenal are to be beaten this weekend.

Arsenal Team News:

It's a mixed bag of news for Arsene Wenger. The Gooners were dealt a huge blow when Andrei Arshavin reported back from Russian duty with a groin injury. His name can be added to those of Djourou and Nasri who will not feature.

However, the classly likes of Captain Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott could all play a role to differing degrees.

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

It's got to be Fabregas if he returns to Wenger's starting XI. The quicksilver Spaniard makes the Arsenal tick and on his day can be absolutely lethal. What happens around Fabregas is where the game will be won and lost. Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry will be going after him left right and centre.

Match Facts & Stats

Adebayor needs one more goal to reach the milestone of 50 in the Premier League.

The brilliant Seamus Given and City are aiming for a 5th consecutive clean sheet in all competitions this season.

As Sparky pointed out at Thursday's press conference, only City, the rags and Chelsea are the British teams to have beaten Arsenal in the past 10 months.

League Head To Head:

City 42 wins, Arsenal 83 wins, 37 draws.

Last Season:

CITY 3-0 Arsenal 22-11-2008
Arsenal 2-0 CITY 04-04-2009

Ref Watch:

Mark Clattenburg, Tyne and Wear 2007-2008 Record: Games: 43, Yellow Cards: 114, Red Cards: 10 Clattenburg only returned from suspension for breach of contract after appeal to referee City's last game of the last season at home to Bolton. He is yet to red card any player in this campaign.

Match Prediction:

This is as eagerly anticipated a firecracker of a game as they come. It's widely acknowledged that Arsenal in full flow can be devastating. But so can this Manchester City side whose rapid pass and move play has been scintillating to watch at times this season. City are gelling quicker than was expected and will need to be as on message as possible with each other if they are to seal the points. Still, if Sparky's squad are to amount to anything during this domestic focused campaign then Arsenal are the type of side you have to get in amongst from the off. Tevez's chasing will be sorely missed but there is enough quality in depth now across the park for City to go for it. Arsenal are going out to defend their top four crown and City aim to stake a claim for it. Johnny On The Spot: I'm banking on City's new found resilience and a rocking Eastlands to have the edge in a thrilling encounter. CITY 2 Arsenal 1

Next Fixtures:

Sun 20 Sep, 1.30pm Swamp Time: The rags v CITY, Premier League.

Wed 23 Sep, 8.00pm Eastlands Time: CITY v Fulham, Carling Cup.

Mon 28 Sep, 8.00pm Eastlands Time: CITY v West Ham, Premier League.

Writer:Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday September 11 2009
Time: 8:45AM


This will show us just where we're at right now. Losing Tevez and Robinho is a blow however thats offset somewhat by Arshavins absence. Our depth is such that we will cover the two losses without losing too much so as long as we continue in the same attacking vein that we did against Wolves in our last home game I think we should definately score more than one goal. If things start to click for us it could be a big win. 4-1 City.
11/09/2009 09:02:00
Arsenal at home always sends a tingle down my spine. With a sell out crowd and a real chance to show how we're developing my back is beginning to go into spasms.
11/09/2009 09:46:00
Just looking forward to it, to see how we cope with (probably) two quality players missing, and how we can compete overall aginst one of the 'big boys'.
11/09/2009 10:02:00
This is a match we need to win and i believe we can do it. Need to score first though, if were chasing the game aresenal will exploit us.
enzo city
11/09/2009 10:35:00
Should be a good game in all honestly. You have improved greatly with your new signings. Still don't see you as a threat to Arsenal, but Liverpool look dog turd.
11/09/2009 12:42:00
I've got this one down for 2-2, although in truth no possible outcome would be a complete surprise. We have our first 2 real tests of how far we have come over the next 2 matches and hopefully we will continue to do everything that we have done well whilst being more clinical in front of goal. Hopefully we will continue to play well and grow as a team and eliminate any reckless pieces of play from our game - Last years defeat at home to Liverpool is still fresh in the mind as we were 2-1 up and had been the better team then one wild challenge from Zabaleta and we ended up losing 3-2 in injury time. Hopefully we will now get into the winning positions against the best teams and hold our nerve in a composed fashion and close the deal for 3 points.
11/09/2009 14:37:00
Actually, you're right Kev - whatever the result (except for a thrashing for either side) will not be a surprise to me.
11/09/2009 15:50:00
We've been guilty in recent seasons of affording far too much respect to the Big Four sides and standing off to watch them. The last derby at the swamp a classic example. Time to start getting amongst them from the off.
Johnny Baguette
11/09/2009 19:13:00
Best of luck from a Fulham fan. Trully a statement game for City. Could be a wild one. Both teams are loaded in attack. Here's hoping you come out on top of a 4-3 classic.
11/09/2009 21:37:00
Cheers Ted! See you in the League Cup on "City-rags both at home night!"
Johnny Baguette
11/09/2009 21:51:00
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