Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side travel to Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
Manchester City have just two matches remaining under Manuel Pellegrini before Pep Guardiola takes charge this summer. Following their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, City will be determined to secure their participation in next season’s competition.
Pellegrini has generally used a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks. He’s sometimes experimented with a 4-4-2 system, featuring Kelechi Iheanacho up front alongside Sergio Aguero, but this tends to be a Plan B.
"Ex-Arsenal duo Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy should retain their full-back positions, although in a game City probably feel they need to win, Aleksandar Kolarov might be a better option down the left for his crossing ability"
Aguero will lead the line, probably with closest support from Kevin de Bruyne, a brilliant counter-attacker who was used on the left flank at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, but is best when given freedom to drift laterally across the pitch and supply Aguero.
Those two combined brilliantly the recent 3-0 victory over Chelsea, and Arsenal must stay compact in the centre of the pitch.
Pellegrini has more options out wide following the return of Raheem Sterling and Samir Nasri from injury. With David Silva out, these two might start on either flank, with Sterling attacking the full back and Nasri drifting inside to crowd the centre. Jesus Navas, who sticks to the right touchline, may drop out.
Yaya Toure started at the top of the midfield trio in midweek but didn’t look fully fit, and Pellegrini might decide to leave him out here. Fernando and Fernandinho have formed a solid midfield partnership in big games, and might be the best combination for closing down Mesut Ozil.
At the back, captain Vincent Kompany has collected yet another injury and will miss out. Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala haven’t convinced this season, and are troubled by City’s peculiar insistence on holding their offside trap on the edge of the penalty box, often finding themselves flat-footed as opponents play through-balls.
Ex-Arsenal duo Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy should retain their full-back positions, although in a game City probably feel they need to win, Aleksandar Kolarov might be a better option down the left for his crossing ability.
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