Arsenal face Manchester City for the second time inside a week on Thursday night at the Emirates Stadium as they seek to redeem themselves after the shell shock 0-3 loss to City in the Carabao Cup final.
The kick-off set for 19.45 GMT, has been overshadowed by reports of bad weather experienced in London. Some quarters have even gone to suggest that City may lose the match by default if they stick to their original travel plans of departing hours to kick-off given the bad weather conditions.
That aside, pressure will be on Arsene Wenger to change tactics if his team is to avoid another damaging defeat to Pep Guardiola’s ruthless side. Already, Wenger has tasted defeat twice this season to Manchester City. The Citizens eased past Arsenal in a 3-1 win during their first leg Premier League showdown at the Etihad in November 2017 and replicated that performance this past Sunday.
In the last ten league meetings, City have won four and lost only two matches with other four resulting in draws. Arsenal head into this tie on the backdrop of a torrid spell. The Gunners have lost four of their last six matches in all competitions including a 0-1 away loss suffered against Tottenham Hotspurs in the derby while City have won four of their last six matches across the board.
Despite having a game in hand over all the teams in the division, City enjoy a commanding 13-point lead over second placed Manchester United with barely 10 matches left to play in the season. Arsenal are placed sixth (45 points) on the log and even a win will not change their fortunes as Chelsea are placed fifth on 53 points.
There is reprieve for Wenger as Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available for selection and likely to start the match. Nacho Monreal is sidelined after picking up an injury in the Carabao Cup final so Wenger has Sead Kolasinac and youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles as suitable replacements.
On the other hand, Guardiola is spoilt for choice despite Fernandinho suffering a hamstring injury that has not been viewed as fatal. The Spanish coach has been known to value consistency in approach he is not one to change too much once his team hits the winning stride.
Danilo is set to continue to deputise for Fabian Delph who is suspended. Goalkeeper Ederson, who sat out the final, is set to return between the posts to continue his fine run that has seen him keep 11 clean sheets in the league.
Prediction: Arsenal 1 Manchester City 2
Probable line ups
Arsenal: Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Manchester City: Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Iklay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero