Arsenal are currently 15th in the league table and are winless since early November when they beat Manchester United at home.
Mikel Arteta’s men have done well in the cup competitions and will look to reach the semi-finals of the EFL Cup at Manchester City’s expense.
Pep Guardiola’s side have had a strange few months, but many deem this as a transitional season for them as they are trying to integrate some new faces into the team. Usually known for their fluid football, City have managed to grind out results this season and have the best defence in the Premier League.
Despite Arsenal’s poor record, we expect a fierce encounter at the Emirates come Tuesday, and here are five key battles to watch out for:
#1 Gabriel vs Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has had an injury nightmare in the last year or so. He has now returned to the team and will look for a sustained run of games to get back into his usual goal-scoring rhythm.
Now at the twilight of his career, he isn’t the same player he once was a few years ago. However, he has evolved into a more complete striker under Pep Guardiola.
On Tuesday, Aguero is likely to come up against Gabriel. The Brazilian centre-back has been one of the best players for Arsenal this season.
Manchester City have not been scoring as many goals as they usually do, but Aguero’s return could change all that. The Argentine is usually deadly in and around the penalty box, and Gabriel and the rest of the Arsenal defenders cannot afford to give him any room.
Aguero’s last goal came in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League, and he will hope to get on the score-sheet again to help his side progress in the EFL Cup.
#2 Bukayo Saka vs Kyle Walker
No one expected young Bukayo Saka to be Arsenal’s biggest threat at this stage of the season. The 19-year-old has been a breath of fresh air at the club and has often looked like the only player who can create something in the team.
Saka is likely to be up against Kyle Walker, who has been solid for Manchester City this season. The 30-year-old has the pace and strength to dominate one-on-one duels, and his positioning has been the most improved aspect of his game under Guardiola.
It’s going to be an interesting battle between one of the most experienced players in the league and one who has a bright future. Arsenal are likely to play on the break, so Saka’s dribbling and direct running will be key during the transitions.