Arsenal’s possible starting XI in the Premier League game against Manchester City
This is the most likely lineup from Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side as they go all out to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League.
It’s that time of year where being a football fan is simultaneously the best and worst thing in the world: potential joy is stored away like a jack-in-the-box, usurped quite spectacularly by feelings of dread and anxiety that outweigh the positive notions to an enormous degree and force every thought in your mind - football related or not - to turn back around to the game like a cruelly designed labyrinth. It doesn’t matter what you do, you always end up back in the same spot as before, with football on the brain.
Arsenal against Manchester City would be, if it were possible to select who plays who on a weekly basis, the fixture that everyone would want to watch right now: it’s top against second, and a pretty much winner-takes-the-title clash. Whatever the result, the old trope of ‘there are many points to go’ will serve as little comfort for the losing side who will know, deep down, that the chances of lifting the Premier League trophy will have dropped through the floor.
Recent form goes against The Gunners
And so, Pep Guardiola’s side host league leaders Arsenal (3pm ET), a team that nobody can work out: are they bottling it? Or are they showing fighting spirit to carry on? Arteta is definitely pumping out the latter, keeping up spirits and saying that he “loves” his players. Guardiola’s side last lost a whole world away, back in February, against Spurs. If you can remember who the Tottenham manager was in that game then you can have a toffee.
Three consecutive draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton have seen the lead that The Gunners had over City melt away to just 5 points. The key is that City have two games in hand over Arsenal, and given their form against the rest of the league, it would take a brave soul to bet against them.
Arsenal team news & injury updates
Arsenal come into the game with William Saliba, arguably the Premier League’s best defender this season, deemed unfit to feature after suffering a back injury against Sporting CP in the Europa League; Holding is expected to start in his place in the defensive line. Added to his absence could be Granit Xhaka, who has been ill, although he may return.
Manchester City’s injury list is quite a lot longer than Arsenal’s with a lot of question marks and things scribbled down in pencil, ready to be changed. As such, predicting the City lineup is like guessing in what formation a broken bag of rice is going to fall into as it hits the floor. It’s a good thing then, that they have unlimited resources on the bench to swap out like a cheating checkers player.
Arsenal potential starting XI: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Ødegaard, Martinelli; Jesus.