Edin Dzeko is part of Man City's formidable strike force. – AFP Photo
THE faithful at Arsenal are still clinging to slim hopes that they can go on to win the English Premier League. Well, if they don’t win against Manchester City on Saturday, they can forget about the title this season.
The Gunners have rapidly plummeted from their perch at the top of the standings. The six-goal thrashing at the hands of Chelsea last weekend and the draw with Swansea in midweek really drove home the point that their campaign is over.
Having said that, City should take heed of what a wounded lion can do to defend itself. Manuel Pellegrini and his squad should be aware that Arsenal will indeed want to win this encounter, if only to prove the point that they are not yet done.
This, in turn, makes them a very dangerous threat, so much so that the Citizens will be hard-pressed to come away from the Emirates with maximum points and their own bid for the crown intact.
Man City are currently third in the standings, three points off Chelsea’s lead and just one behind second-placed Liverpool, with two games in hand.
The current standings has propelled Pellegrini’s side to become favourites for the silverware – that and, of course, some excellent form.
If there was a weakness in City’s armoury, then it would be their defence, which has looked vulnerable at times. Yet against this background, City have not conceded a Premiership goal since the league leaders beat them at the beginning of last month. That equates to five matches.
This is not to say the Gunners will not score on Saturday. Of course they could. And they will, if they can get past the Citizens’ rearguard.
But I don’t think it will be that easy and even if they do, City may well end up scoring one or two more than the home team. They have done it often enough this season and during their triumphant 2011/12 campaign to leave Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger wary of the league’s most potent front-six.
Wenger will need no reminding of the venom strikers Negredo and Dzeko, pint-size midfielder David Silva, the irrepressible Yaya Toure, ever-skilful Nazri and workhorse Fernandinho possess – not after the 6-3 hammering at the Etihad last December.
Another team might boast of the best two strikers in England, but City’s front-six are by far more superior than all others in this league, and to some extent across Europe, except maybe a handful.
This then leads me to believe that the contest at the Emirates on Saturday, with so much riding on it in terms of the league title, will be a feisty confrontation where tempers could well flare and a red card or two handed out.
At the end of it all, though, Arsenal will almost surely resign themselves to having failed in their bid for the title.
Shaun Orange thinks City will win this one and continue their march to the league title.