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Arsenal vs Manchester City: 5 key battles | EFL Cup 2020-21

Modified 22 Dec 2020
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#3 Dani Ceballos vs Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne

Mikel Arteta will rue not having Thomas Partey for this clash as it’s the kind of game where his influence will be key. With someone like Kevin De Bruyne to deal with, Arsenal need a player with discipline and ability to put in a tackle when needed.

Dani Ceballos is expected to feature in a central midfield role, and he will have the tough task of stopping De Bruyne from making an impact on the game. Having said that, Ceballos has his own tricks up his sleeve.

The Spaniard is the most creative midfield player that Arsenal have, apart from a frozen-out Mesut Ozil, and Manchester City cannot afford to allow him time and space on the ball when Arsenal have possession.

Arsenal’s biggest chances will come through the transitions, and Ceballos is likely to be a key component as most of the attacking moves start through him.

If De Bruyne has a good game, City usually win. Ceballos will have to stop the threat of the Belgian and weave his own magic on the pitch for Arsenal to cause an upset.

#4 Nicolas Pepe vs Benjamin Mendy

Nicolas Pepe has it in him to trouble defenders with his pace and trickery but has been far too inconsistent since joining Arsenal. He has scored just two goals in the league so far this season and has looked like a player bereft of confidence, much like the rest of the Arsenal team.


However, he will have the opportunity to test Manchester City’s weak link, which happens to be Benjamin Mendy. The Frenchman often loses concentration and isn’t the best of players when it comes to defending, though he is a good attacking full-back. Unlike Walker, his positioning sense isn’t the greatest, and that’s where Pepe can test the full-back.

Pepe needs to replicate his Europa League form on Tuesday as Arsenal are in dire need of some flair in attack. If he manages to get the better of Mendy, Arsenal could have a chance of scoring in the game, something they have struggled to do of late.

#5 Bernd Leno vs Ederson

It’s clear that Arteta wants his side to play out from the back, and they haven’t been very successful at it.


Bernd Leno needs to step up in terms of his distribution come Tuesday as he will have to look for the quick releases to catch the Manchester City defence off guard. There’s no doubting his shot-stopping ability, but he isn’t as good as Ederson with the ball at his feet.

The Manchester City custodian still has a few mistakes in him as his decision-making can be culpable at times. Arsenal are likely to cross the ball several times judging by their attacking patterns of late, so he will have to command his area well. 

Published 22 Dec 2020, 07:17 IST
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