The match and the moment that has been looming on the calendar for months. What was once an acceptable loss if the rest of the schedule was managed has now become a make-or-break moment for Arsenal. Much like last year’s late-season North London Derby, Arsenal is tasked with traveling and looking for a massive win. But with both William Saliba and Granit Xhaka in doubt, plus City’s unrelenting form, is it possible?
While Arsenal control the all-time record between these two sides with 98 wins, 45 draws, and 64 losses, everything changed when Abu Dhabi took over at Manchester City. Even more so once Pep Guardiola came along. Over the last 15 matches, across all competitions, between these two clubs, Arsenal has just one win and no draws. 14 losses and 1 win. Arsenal has only ever scored more than one goal during that stretch, which was their 2-0 FA Cup win in the summer of 2020. Arsenal’s last win at the Etihad was back in 2015 with goals from Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott. Can Arsenal break the streak and keep the 2022-23 title race alive?
Q&A with the Opposition: 5 questions with Bitter & Blue
- Leandro Trossard
- Eddie Nketiah
- Reiss Nelson
- Fabio Vieira
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Kieran Tierney
- Jakub Kiwior
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: William Saliba (injury), Takehiro Tomiyasu (injury), & Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- Granit Xhaka’s presence was missed in helping build up the attack, break up play in the middle of the pitch, and protect the backline. His absence against Southampton was due to illness, and while the club hasn’t confirmed his availability, considering the importance of the match if it’s possible, he will be back in the starting XI.
- If for some reason Xhaka isn’t available Mikel Arteta could choose to start with Jorginho’s experience or move Martin Odegaard back in central midfield and use it as a chance to add Leandro Trossard from the start. That might be a bit too aggressive against City on the road, but Arsenal needs a win and has missed Trossard getting more match time.
- It’s hard to see Arteta not starting Gabriel Jesus against City, while Odegaard and Saka are always locked into the starting XI. So while finding a way in for Trossard would be nice, ultimately Martinelli’s speed might be best to push City’s backline.
- It’s looking unlikely William Saliba will return for this match, or the rest of the season. Which is truly disappointing not just for the club, but for the player. Saliba has had a terrific debut season with Arsenal and would have relished the chance to go against Erling Haaland.
- If Xhaka starts, in the second half we should see Trossard, Jorginho, Eddie Nketiah, and Emile Smith Rowe. It’s been odd to see Fabio Vieira getting more minutes than ESR.
How to watch
Wednesday (4/24) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on the Peacock Premium.
Arsenal - 1
Manchester City - 3
Looking at Arsenal’s form heading into this match, Manchester City’s form, and the Gunners’ history at the Etihad lately, it’s very difficult to predict a win or a draw. Even for the most optimistic supporter. However, given the last three matches seemed favorable and were anything but, perhaps having low expectations benefits Arsenal in this case. Everyone will be expecting Manchester City to keep scoring, keep winning, and take yet another Premier League title in their pursuit of a treble before signing Jude Bellingham in the summer. Without Saliba, Arsenal faces the tallest task of the season, but who knows, it’s the Premier League after all.