Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Friday February 1 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
2nd February 2008
This is a game that perhaps a month ago City would be looking to get at least a point from. But given our current form at present; maybe it should be how many we can keep the score down by as Arsenal are in a rich vein of form of their own at present as well.
Sven talks about Arsenal: 'In Arsenal, we welcome one of the finest football teams in the world, led by one of the finest managers in the world. Arsene Wenger is a friend of mine whom I like and respect as a person and as a football man. His team are playing some fantastic football and indeed have been doing so for many years now. They will not make it easy for us. We will need to be at the top of our game' He goes on further: "It`s a big one," says Sven, "a difficult match and we`re meeting one of the best teams in Europe. They are playing wonderful football at the moment, they move the ball well and if we don`t defend well tomorrow we will have a very difficult afternoon."But we`re looking forward to it, because it will be a proper football match out there for sure. I don`t think it will end up 0-0, I think there`ll be goals for sure and a good match to watch."
City welcome Ecuadorian international striker Felipe Caicedo to his squad from FC Basel. However, he is not expected to link up with his new team-mates until next week so Daniel Sturridge and Darius Vassell are set to continue their partnership up front following the midweek draw to Derby. Brazilian Elano will be hoping for a start after being forced to settle for a place on the bench against The Rams at Pride Park. Micah Ricards will return at the back for City after sitting out the last two games with a knee injury. City are without Mexico ace Nery Castillo, who is out with a shoulder problem, while Michael Johnson is on the sidelines with an abdominal strain but should be back in two weeks. Valeri Bojinov continues to edge closer to competitive football as his second week of full training has just been completed.
He produced another goal scoring cross on Wednesday and we might see him cause the Arsenal defence a few problems.
Manuel Almunia and Gilberto have been forced to drop out of the trip to Manchester City on Saturday. The keeper twisted his thumb in training on Friday while the midfielder has a stiff back. With Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Johan Djourou (groin) and Robin van Persie (thigh) already injured plus Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song on international duty. Midfielder Denilson is also ruled out and so Wenger is limited to just fourteen outfield players.
He has really come on this year and has scored some great goals.
City's record against the gunners is appalling, but we did finally get a first premiership win against them last season. Prior to that you have to go back to December 1991 when the last time City won against the Gunners.
Andre Marriner - we rarely have him. This will be his second game for City this season and Arsenal's first. Last season we drew both games with him in charge; Bolton and Everton.
City to perform a lot better but Arsenal to have that edge of quality to sneak it. City 0 - 1 Arsenal.
Manchester United Away - Sunday 10th February with a 1:30pm kick off.
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Date:Friday February 1 2008
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