Arsenal will slug it out with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium this weekend. The Gunners go into this encounter joint second in the Premier League. The Mikel Arteta tutored side has 9 points from 4 matches, same as Aston Villa. Manchester City is in a distant 14th position, an unfamiliar position for the former Champions.
The match is another avenue for the two coaches to clash again. Arteta was until December last year an assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Following his Arsenal appointment, The two coaches have met twice, once in the Premier League and the last year FA Cup final. Man-City prevailed 3-0 in the league while Arteta and his Gunners ran away 2-0 in the FA Cup Semi-final.
Meanwhile, both coaches have a lot of things in common. They both like to play possessive football, building their attack from the back. Both also like to play the 3-4-3 system deploying three central defenders.
Arteta has revolutionized the 3-4-3 formation differently. When not with the ball, they fall back into a different shape than when with the ball. Coaches are taking note of his formation tweaks as he has used it to surprise Liverpool, Man-City, and Chelsea recently. As it is the case, teams are working hard to counter him, but Arteta is also working on coming up with other surprises.
With the acquisition of Thomas Partey on deadline day, Gunner’s midfield will be a lot stronger than usual. Arteta will opt to play a 4-3-3 formation where Partey will be flanked in Midfield by Xhaka and Ceballos. While Aubamayang, Lacazette, and Pepe propel the attack.
On the other hand, Pep Guardiola’s Man-City has not been in the best of form recently. They have struggled in attack with the absence of their record striker Aguero. Everyone will look to see Man-City bounce back with a win against arsenal. Pep Guardiola will not be under pressure at the Etihad. There will be that boss feeling to edge this against his former assistant.
The Man-City coach has an array of stars to choose from, hence the selection headache. He has shuffled his line-ups three times in the three League games they have played so far.
In my opinion, Mikel Arteta and his Gunners side will edge this one against Pep Guardiola. The introduction of Partey into the Arsenal team will give their strikers the freedom to move forward at will.