Premier League champions Manchester City travel to London to take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium as they look to close down the gap on their more illustrious neighbors Manchester United, who have opened up a seven point lead at the top. United, who take on Liverpool at home on the same day play a potentially tricky match which gives Roberto Mancini and his side enough hope that the title can still be won. But Mancini will know Arsenal will not be an easy team to beat as they suffered a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture last season as well.
Moreover, the kind of form that City are in at the moment, nothing can be taken for granted. City trailed United by a massive seven points and although they hauled The Red Devils when they took an eight point lead last season in the last six games to clinch the title on goal difference, they will know this season, things will be much harder as United have signed a winner in the form of Dutch maestro Robin van Persie, who single handedly defeated the Citizens at the Etihad Stadium in December.
After it emerged Mancini and madcap Italian striker Mario Balotelli were involved in a scuffle in training, City are in immense pressure and a win against Arsenal in London would go a long way in securing that. However, Arsenal are also chasing a place in Europe and their hit and miss season has already seen them drop enough points that they find themselves in sixth position, behind Chelsea and Everton. Arsenal rallied to secure a 2-2 draw against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday after being a goal down and although the result doesn’t reflect the dominance that Arsenal displayed throughout the game, Arsene Wenger will be happy that they will get the chance to rectify the result in the replay.
But before that, he will hope his Gunners side is able to cut the lead that Everton have in front of them as they chase qualification for the UEFA Champions League and a lot will depend on midfield kingpin Santi Cazorla who will be entrusted with the duty of breaking down the stubborn midfield of Manchester City that boasts the likes of Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry and David Silva. But on their day, Arsenal is a tough side to beat and Wenger will be hoping another such day.