Can Gunners thwart City?


Riyad has been in goal-scoring form recently and is one to watch tomorrow. – AFP



THERE are only a few folks out there who, at this stage of the campaign, believe that Manchester City will not win the Premier League title in May – or earlier.

Similarly, there are only a few who think Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal will win when City visit the Emirates Stadium tomorrow in London.

The rationale behind all this is not too difficult to understand. Man City are awesome at the moment.

They can do no wrong right now and they are as sleek as they have ever been. They are as good now as they were when they won two league titles in a row before Liverpool swept aside everyone last season.

As things stand, a third league crown in four seasons beckons rather tantalisingly and perhaps a few more records along the way will do too.

When City so comprehensively beat Everton in midweek to open up a 10-point cushion at the top of the league standings, they created a bit of history by becoming the first team among English football’s elite to win their opening 10 matches of a calendar year.

But that was not all and that is why the rest of England, and some quarters in Europe, should be worried. Pep Guardiola and his gallant warriors – craftsmen some might say –- chalked up a 12th straight league victory and a 17th triumph on the trot in all competitions.

That takes some doing and that is why Arteta will almost surely find it difficult to get past the club where he worked as Guardiola’s assistant before assuming the helm at the Emirates in December 2019.

City are hungry for more success and Guardiola made it known after the Goodison win. He said despite the fact that they had “a lot of wins in a row” they “still have the desire and keep wanting more”.

In the Everton game Kevin De Bruyne marked his return from injury with a substitute’s appearance and tomorrow one expects Argentine striker Sergio Aguero to do the same.

Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez should keep their places in the line-up tomorrow, not only because they were among the goals at Everton, but also because of the rotation of players with the Champion League game against Borussia Monchengladbach up next in the middle of next week.

Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are also expected to start, or at least see some action tomorrow.

Arsenal were down to play Benfica in what appeared to be a tricky Europa League fixture on Thursday. That they will have had a day less to prepare for City’s visit will not help their cause.

Nonetheless, the Gunners will just have to regroup and give it their best shot against a side that looks tough to beat – City look like champions already.

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