Before every Arsenal fixture, we'll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners' next opponents.
Arsene Wenger's side visit the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City on Saturday, to find out more, we asked Michael Cox and Stuart Brennan.
Manchester City’s Premier League record at the Etihad this season is astonishingly impressive - they’ve won all seven games, scoring 29 goals and conceding just two - and therefore this could be Arsenal’s most tricky league fixture of the campaign.
There are two key ingredients to Manuel Pellegrini’s favoured style of football. First, he concentrates heavily upon ball retention in advanced zones.
Somewhat strangely, City average a significantly lower share of possession in home matches this season (54 per cent) compared to on their travels (60 per cent) - although this is probably explained by their poor away record, and the fact they’ve often been forced to chase games late on.
"Up front, Sergio Aguero often starts in deeper positions than target man Alvaro Negredo, but then charges in behind the opposition defence"
Interestingly, among the 20 Premier League teams, City play the lowest percentage of their passes in their own half - they don’t merely retain the ball, they do so in dangerous positions.
Secondly, Pellegrini’s sides always boast great movement - the attacking players vary their positioning and cover space efficiently. When one player moves inside, another makes the reverse run to retain width. When one player comes short, a team-mate sprints towards goal.
City boast great attacking options. Up front, Sergio Aguero often starts in deeper positions than target man Alvaro Negredo, but then charges in behind the opposition defence.
On the flanks, Pellegrini usually favours a narrow left-sided midfielder like Samir Nasri or David Silva, but more width on the right from James Milner or Jesus Navas, giving a variety of attacking threats.
In midfield, the combination of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho is physically impressive and excellent at using the ball quickly and efficiently, although both are at their best when given license to charge into attack. Neither is a holding midfielder, and Arsenal could get joy on the break.
City have conceded fewer shots than any other Premier League side, and the return of captain Vincent Kompany has further strengthened their defence.
The Belgian can be exposed when brought out from the defence and forced to turn, however, and Arsenal must get midfield runners up in advance of Olivier Giroud.
STUART BRENNAN, MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
The key reason behind Manchester City's superb home form this season is the attacking players they have got. They haven't looked great defensively at times but that's been more than compensated by the fact they are always on the front foot at home. The players City have got are just made for going at teams, which they're doing really effectively.
Manuel Pellegrini has injected a bit more pace into the side since his arrival. There's a touch more dynamism in the team. I think he quickly recognised that those were the two things lacking a little bit when he came in. The signing of Fernandinho typifies the style Pellegrini wants to bring to his team.
"I think in pure footballing terms, City and Arsenal are the two best teams in the league by a country mile. It could be an absolute joy to watch"
Gareth Barry was a great servant for City and he's having a great season at Everton as well but perhaps the only thing he was lacking was that extra bit of pace and power to go from defence to attack. Fernandinho certainly provides that really effectively and he's settled in very quickly.
The Brazilian midfielder has also complemented Yaya Toure while Jesus Navas has bought a lot of pace to the right wing. The system that Pellegrini uses means City can move the ball forward quicker than Roberto Mancini's teams did. Pellegrini isn't afraid to move the ball fast and take a bit of a risk.
I think Saturday's game has the potential to be a classic. Arsenal are very good going forward and they set up in a similar way to City when they are attacking. I think in pure footballing terms, City and Arsenal are the two best teams in the league by a country mile. It could be an absolute joy to watch.
The result is a difficult one to predict because Arsenal are capable are going anywhere and overturning teams. City were able to rest key players like Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Toure against Bayern Munich - I think that might give them the edge on Saturday.
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