By Giuseppe Muro
Manchester City are considered by many as serious contenders for the Premier League title this season.
They are two points behind leaders Chelsea, have the league’s top scorer in Carlos Tevez and a manager who has won numerous Serie A titles.
Arsenal suffered two unhappy trips to Eastlands last season but can Arsène Wenger and his side make up for that with a win on Sunday? We spoke to Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News to get a Manchester City perspective on this weekend's clash.
THE STORY SO FAR
"Performances would suggest that they are not title contenders. They haven’t really hit top gear yet. They’ve had key players out injured and they’ve not started playing the way Roberto Mancini wants them to play. They’ve not been entirely convincing in the style they’ve played but having said that, they’ve carried on rattling out results. The old maxim about teams that win titles are the ones that win games when they’re not playing well could maybe apply to City. Apart from the games against Chelsea and Liverpool they’ve not really pulled up any trees this season. You could see that as a negative thing or a positive thing. I think Sunday will be a good gauge of whether they are good enough or not."
MAN OF THE MOMENT
"I don’t think it’s fair at all the criticism Nigel De Jong has received. There was that one challenge and to my mind it wasn’t that bad a tackle. There wasn’t any intent, it was certainly a very strong and hard tackle but I genuinely don’t think it was that bad. He’s only got two yellow cards this season, which is less than a lot of players in the Premier League. He’s not really that type of player. People remember the World Cup Final and that was a red card offence but that was out of character. I can’t remember him being involved in another bad tackle this season or last season. He’s a firm tackler and a hard tackler but he’s not a dirty player."
"The way they approached Chelsea was to match them physically and in fact they won the physical battle and not many people do that against Chelsea. I suspect they will try and do that against Arsenal and then hope to play a bit up front. They have got talented players like Tevez and Silva who can create and score goals so I think they will look to impose themselves physically on Arsenal as they did in the corresponding fixture last season."
THE MAN IN CHARGE
"There’s still a split over Mancini. Some of the fans can see what he’s doing because he has made City a lot tighter and a lot tougher to beat. But there are others, perhaps some of the older fans who are steeped in the tradition that City should play attacking football and they are maybe not that convinced. But I think by and large any manager stands by their results and the results are going well so I think City fans are willing to roll with it at the moment."
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
"Carlos Tevez is an inspiration. You saw last Sunday when City weren’t playing well, all of a sudden he pops up with two goals and they win the game. No one else is really scoring for them. He’s absolutely crucial at the moment, they’re hoping Adebayor will return to form and they can get Balotelli back fit and playing and that will ease some of the burden on Tevez’s shoulders."