Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side face Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Sunday so, to find out more, we also asked journalist Ian Cheeseman for his analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Earlier in the season Manchester City were the best team in the Premier League because they had the right balance between attacking football and defensive stability. Like all the very best teams, they were unpredictable and imaginative in possession yet regimented and defined with their defensive gameplan when out of possession.

"Recently that hasn`t been the case. Last week against Sunderland they lacked fluency when attacking and were constantly out of shape when defending. Defending has to start from the front but on too many occasions City's front two of Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko were slow to close down or position themselves correctly to stop Sunderland playing out from the back.

"However, on the ball Balotelli is dangerous when drifting into wide areas before cutting infield to unleash shots, as he did for the second of his two goals. Dzeko has been out of form in recent times but he showed his ability when winning a penalty following an excellent dribble into the box. He can threaten in the air, link up play and score great goals but he seems to lack the confidence to be the dynamic force he was at the start of the season.

"City’s defence could contain two Arsenal old boys: Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy. Toure was the best player at the recent Africa Cup of Nations, showing he is still playing at his peak. Clichy will enjoy taking on the pace of Theo Walcott but he doesn`t pose a huge threat in attacking areas."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"There is definitely a growing feeling that City have blown the title now and anything less than a win on Sunday would confirm it. There have been lot of factors behind their loss of form. Manchester United's unrelenting focus has had a psychological impact. The absence of Yaya Toure at the Africa Cup of Nations, and the Carlos Tevez situation must have unsettled people. There has also been a loss of form from David Silva, which could be down to tiredness but more likely because teams have found a way to neutralise his effectiveness. The manager has also admitted making a few mistakes. All of this has affected their second half to the season.

"I have been to every City game at Highbury or the Emirates since 1975 and truthfully they have never come close to winning a league game. They have had a few draws but it is mainly defeats. I have followed City for 40 years and seen more than 1,800 games and it is the only major ground where I have not seen them win a league game. But this is one match they just cannot afford to slip up in, even a draw would still be terminal really. They have to win on Sunday at all costs.

"There are a few players coming back from injury; Joleon Lescott should be available and there is every chance Sergio Aguero will be back as well. Samir Nasri missed last weekend but he will be involved, so they will be strengthened and this is the one where this set of players have to prove that they can do it in the do-or-die games.

"I never really do predictions because I have watched City so many times down the years that I never know what to expect. I am aware of the fact that Arsenal are desperate for the third Champions League spot, and my fear is that City will lose. But City do unusual things at unusual times, so I hope I am wrong."

    Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
    5 Apr 2012