Arsenal take on Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
It’ll be a game that will test Arsenal both technically and tactically as they look to become the first team to inflict defeat upon Pep Guardiola’s side this season.
While City are understandably the favourites, there are things that Arsenal can do to ensure that they have a chance of getting a result. You can be sure you’ll hear all about them if Arsenal don’t perform well and lose.
Here are five things to keep an eye on for on Sunday.
1. Aaron Ramsey’s discipline
Everyone’s favourite Welshman has an important to play in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. Often criticised for his lack of discipline, Ramsey has, in the past, demonstrated that he’s perfectly capable of helping Granit Xhaka protected the defence. Coming up against the in-form duo of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, Arsenal can’t afford to have one of their midfielders wandering about. Ramsey will have pick his moments when to go forward and support the attack.
2. Arsenal’s wide men
Will it be Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, or will Alex Iwobi come into the team? Whomever Arsene Wenger chooses to go with, he’ll need a shift out of his wide players. It’ll be up to them to press City when they build-up from the back, track back into their half to make up the numbers in the midfield, and provide a threat on the counter attack. Arsenal could be in a for a very long afternoon if they’re not up to the task.
3. Lacazette’s running off the ball
With Arsenal set to endure long periods without the ball, the Frenchman will need to be an outlet. So far in his Arsenal career, he’s been perfectly willing to drop deep and get involved in the build-up play. However, with Arsenal limited to counter-attacks, he’ll need to make more runs off the ball and exploit any gaps left by City’s defenders, and ensure Arsenal can get up the pitch.
4. How Arsenal cope with City’s pressing
Arsenal have struggled against team that press them in possession, and few teams are better at doing that than Manchester City at the moment. Countering them is difficult due to how quickly they close the ball down. Arsenal will have to be at their absolute best on the ball to play around the pressure and get at City’s defence. If they’re not, there could be a lot of turnovers high up the pitch, which will either put Arsenal in immediate danger or starve them of the ball.
5. The positioning of City’s full-backs
Guardiola has multiple ways of ensuring his team can play out of defence successfully. One method is to tuck his full-backs into midfield areas instead of pushing them up the pitch. It was this approach that gave Chelsea a headache when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, and could give Arsenal similar problems. If Guardiola opts to use his full-backs as attackers, there’ll be a lot of pressure on Arsenal’s wide players to track them. How Arsenal adapt to City will be key to how well they can defend against them.