Saturday 20 October 2018

Manchester City v Arsenal Talking Points

Manchester City face Arsenal this weekend
Manchester City face Arsenal this weekend

Premier League leaders Manchester City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Here, Press Association Sport looks at some talking points ahead of the game.

The new Invincibles?

City's flying start to the season has sparked speculation over whether they could go through the entire campaign unbeaten. The last side to do so in the Premier League were their opponents this weekend, Arsenal, in 2003-04. That achievement earned them the nickname 'The Invincibles' after the Preston North End side that accomplished the same feat - and won the FA Cup - in 1888-89. City boss Pep Guardiola has been answering questions from media on this for a few weeks already but has been dismissive of comparisons. Nevertheless, his side are in great form. They are not only unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions this season but last lost in April, to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals. They have won their last 14 games - a club record run - and scored 49 goals this term.

Arsenal's form

Arsene Wenger's men go into the game in reasonable form themselves. Since questions were asked after the 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool in August, the Gunners have improved. They have lost just one of their last 13, a surprising last-gasp defeat to Watford in a game they dominated. Their run has included a creditable point at champions Chelsea and a notable 5-2 victory at Everton.

Where is City's weak link?

City have no obvious vulnerabilities. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are forming a fine partnership at the back, bolstered by goalkeeper Ederson behind them. Full-backs Kyle Walker and stand-in Fabian Delph have impressed, as has midfielder Fernandinho. On top of that is a vast array of in-form attacking players - Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

Eyes on Sanchez and Sterling

After a summer of strong rumours, City made a late attempt to lure Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez to the Etihad on transfer deadline day in August. Their attempts failed but, with his contract running down, the Chilean remains a potential target for City. Sterling - scorer of 10 goals this season - was mentioned as a possible makeweight in any deal but that was emphatically dismissed by City. The performances of these players could make an interesting subplot on Sunday.

Could Wilshere feature?

England boss Gareth Southgate raised eyebrows this week when he left Jack Wilshere out of his latest squad. But after a number of injury problems in recent seasons, the Arsenal midfielder remains short of regular match action. He shone in the Gunners' Europa League clash against Red Star Belgrade in midweek and is pushing for more involvement.

Press Association

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