Arsenal go up against Manchester City at the Etihad today as they look to turn their fortunes in the Premier League. The Gunners have made a tough start to the 21/22 season after back-to-back 2-0 defeats against Brentford and Chelsea in the Premiership.
However, Arteta’s men finally found their redemption station at the West Bromwich Albion Stadium on Wednesday. The 6-0 win against the Baggies in the Carabao Cup will be a major morale boost for the players as they head to the weekend fixture against the defending champions.
Today’s visit to the Etihad Stadium would be a tough one for Arteta. City were put down to a surprising 1-0 defeat against the Spurs in their season opener, Pep Guardiola’s men came back with a bang last week, thrashing Norwich City by 5 goals to nil.
The Manchester City vs Arsenal game will be an interesting one, given that both teams are riding on the back of heavy wins. Here are three things Arteta should consider before they head to Manchester.
Let The Captain Lead The Line
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back in action for the Gunners and in style. The mid-week hat-trick against West Brom was splendid and having the Gabonese striker lead the line against the Citizens would take the pressure lid off of Arteta’s head, at least for a bit.
Furthermore, the return of Alexandre Lacazette to the attacking line will be of great help for the Gunners. The Frenchman also scored on his return against the Baggies. With Aubameyang returning to form, his partnership with Lacazette will be important in today’s game.
Martin Odegaard Should Start At Etihad
The summer transfer window finally granted the wish of many Arsenal fans, Martin Odegaard returned to Emirates on a permanent deal from Real Madrid. Arteta was very impressed with the player while being on loan and made him his key target for the creative midfielder role.
The Norwegian is touted as Arsenal’s midfield general for years to come. He showed his brilliance last season and was also on display at the Hawthorns. He displayed an excellent understanding of his surroundings and his communication with the attacking department was magnificent.
Starting Odegaard in the Manchester City vs Arsenal game is a no-brainer. His surprise moves and silky touches will be an important factor if the Gunners want to get any result out of this fixture. Meanwhile, the absence of Kevin de Bryune will certainly be an advantage for the visitors.
Focus On The Backline
Arsenal need to fix their defensive line for the Manchester City clash. The absence of Ben White is a definite concern. Arteta needs to make an educated decision on whom to go with as the centre-backs, this choice might make or break this fixture’s outcome.
Gabriel Magalhaes and Hector Bellerin both returned to training this week and might be available today. Arteta might have to go with a three-man defence with two wing-backs, having Nuno Tavares and Kieran Tierney is a relief for the Spaniard. Keeper Bernd Leno will return in front of the goal. Although Aaron Ramsdale impressed during the Carabao Cup game mid-week, Leno would certainly be the preferable option against City.
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Operating through the channels should be the strategy for Arteta at the Etihad. In that context, Odegaard can monitor the central midfield role, with Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka working the flanks. Missing Thomas Partey would demand additional caution on the defensive gaps and the wing-backs should be aware of that factor while being on attacking raids.
The numbers do support the home side, but this is the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to get into top gear in the Premier League. A draw will serve the purpose for the Gunners, but winning three points against the defending champions would be the perfect comeback and would grant Mikel Arteta some solace.
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