Manchester City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, in a match that could decide whether the Cityzens are still in the race for the English Premier League trophy.
With a win, draw, and loss in their games so far, Pep Guardiola's side find themselves in the bottom half of the table, eight points adrift of league leaders Everton. On the other hand, the Gunners are fourth after three victories from four matches.
Ahead of kickoff, the good news for Mikel Arteta is that Kieran Tierney is expected to be available for the clash. The defender has been one of the key figures in Arsenal's improving defensive record. However, injury woes for Guardiola's side continue, and a couple of notable players are set to miss the match. Here's a look at why the Cityzens could struggle against the Gunners today.
#5 Lack of home ground advantage for Manchester City
For years under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, Arsenal's away form has been particularly poor when they face opponents from the top-six. The last time the Gunners beat Manchester City was back in January 2015, thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.
However, given the absence of fans in stadiums, it now means that home teams no longer have an advantage over their opponents. This was the case when Leicester City beat Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium two weeks back.
There is little doubt that Arsenal have the ability of replicating the Foxes' success. Arteta's side has already beaten City once while playing away from home, and the team should have the belief that they can do it again.
Currently sitting at 14th in the Premier League table, Manchester City's form hasn't been great at all, and there is no better time for Arsenal to take advantage of the situation.
#4 Arsenal's improving record against top-six clubs
When Unai Emery was still in-charge of the Gunners, his win-percentage against a top six side was at a low of 17.6%, and almost 2.3 goals were conceded every match. This led to critics like Patrice Evra saying:
“I just don’t see any leadership. I don’t see any character or any personality. They look weak mentally.”
However, since Arteta took over the role as the new Arsenal manager in December 2019, the Spaniard has inculcated a belief of trust and resilience among his players. His managerial record against the top-six clubs stands at a 44.4% winning rate, and Arsenal have conceded only an average of 1.2 goals per game.
This notable change in form implies that the North Londoners might have a chance against Manchester City today.