We all know this is going to be a tough nut to crack. Manchester City have the best offence and second best defence this season in terms of goals scored and conceded. They also have nine wins and one draw from ten league games.
Then we have our team. One away win this season from our league games and some wildly varying performances have left us guessing about what team will show up from one game to the next. We can eviscerate teams with our attack like we did against Everton, or we can be completely insipid and act like a doormat like we did against Liverpool.
It is our average performances that we need to concentrate on. They also provide us with very little ability to predict. We have our strangely shocked display when we lost to Watford where we seemed unable to comprehend our opponent fighting back. Then we have games like Swansea last week where we didn’t play well but our tenacity rose to the surface.
We will need that in buckets if we are to escape from The Eitihad with anything.
Another thing we will need is positional discipline. Our team will be allowed to play if they can avoid the press of City. We must remember to avoid going all-out like we have a propensity to do, and thus leave us open for City’s lightning forward line.
Our full-backs must be switched on when roaming forward and have their counterparts position in their mind at all times. So it is great news we will have Sead Kolasinac fit and ready for this game after injuring his hip last week.
Manchester City will most likely recall David Silva and Gabriel Jesus after resting them against Napoli. Jesus played a cameo but he will be refreshed and could partner Sergio Aguero up top. then they have the mercurial Spaniard Silva attacking from midfield with Kevin DeBruyne and Raheem Sterling. Then they have Leroy Sane if they can find room in their team, who has played his part in 11 goals in his last seven games.
Whew, that is one hell of a task for our defence. We have shown we can keep it tight at times, but this stern examination will be our toughest test this season.
We have a great record against City recently. They have just one win in the last nine games against us, and we have scored twice in eight of our last ten games against them.
This game will have goals, and plenty of them. City have 21 goals in five home games so far. Quite a scary stat for us. City also managed the most passes ever recorded since Opta Stats began, in their win over West Brom last week. Both teams own the highest averages of possession so far this season too.
We do have a potent attack ourselves, although it is easy to forget when you look at City this season. Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez can really hurt Pep Guardiola’s men, but they will need to be on fire if we are to grab all three points.
In terms of injuries, Santi Cazorla, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck are ruled out of the game.
Optimism can be found when we look to our better performances. Ignorance is the best option when we look at our failings. Let us try and enjoy what is bound to be a match filled with goalmouth action.
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal