Can Arsenal do the double over Man City?

by Keith O'Connell

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Nouveau Rich, noisy neighbours, financial dopers.  Call them what you
will, there is no ignoring the threat that Manchester City are now
posing to the established elite of the Premier League.  Whilst Arsenal
have played the financial tournament, going for glory supported only
by a shoe string budget, City have cared little how many enemies they
have garnered whilst compiling a powerful and elite squad of stars
that finally looks capable of joining very the best at the big table.

And now here we are, over the hump and approaching the business end of
the season.  These two eternally inconsistent teams have each finally
found a semblance of form and find themselves only lagging behind Sir
Alex Ferguson’s unbeaten Manchester United.

In their most recent fixture Arsenal showed the solid spine they have
previously lacked as they conclusively took all three points in a
predictably bruising encounter at St Andrews, a feat that their rivals
have thus far been unable to match.  Coupled with the fantastic defeat
of Chelsea five days earlier things are very much on the up for
Arsenal, and they only find themselves without regular absentees
Vermaelan, Diaby, Ramsey, Almunia and Gibbs.

The current good form of Balotelli and the recently reaffirmed captain
Tevez allied with City’s solid and parsimonious style will make this a
tough assignment for Arsenal, however convincingly they may have won
at Middle Eastlands.  Expect an end to end encounter, as Arsenal pile
on the pressure, passing and possession, whilst City sit back and
attempt to hit on the counter.  It may be a cliché, but the first goal
is going to be all important in this one, and will go a long way
towards deciding who will come out on top.

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