Arsenal will seek to avenge their League Cup final defeat against Manchester City when they host them in the Premier League on Thursday. The Gunners were second-best during the Wembley showpiece last weekend, and their defensive frailties played a significant role in a 3-0 defeat which is likely to hamper the overall morale around the squad.
There is a question whether the match will be played as scheduled due to the ‘Beast from the East’ which may affect transportation, but the Gunners, in particular, will want the match to start as planned as they find themselves 10 points behind the Champions League places with a game in hand. City, on the other side, hold a comfortable 13-point lead at the top of the standings, and six victories from their next 11 matches will assure them of their third Premier League title – and a double in Pep Guardiola’s second season in-charge.
Players to watch for:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal: The Gabon international has not had much success with the Gunners, barring a goal on debut against Everton in the Premier League. However, it could be said that the 28-year-old has received limited gametime during this period, having been ineligible for the two-legged Europa League tie in the lead-up to the League Cup final. Aubameyang looked short of match fitness in the Cup final defeat at Wembley, but there will be high expectations on the striker’s shoulders on Thursday, where the failure to score, may bring some criticism towards him.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City: Aguero had a bizarre record of not finding the scoresheet in a final for either City or Atletico Madrid. However, he put this statistic to bed by netting a wonderful opener in the League Cup final, where he lobbed the ball over David Ospina to score. The goal was the Argentine’s 199th in the club’s shirt, and he will fancy his chances of claiming his double-century in midweek owing to the Gunners’ defensive woes. Aguero has enjoyed playing against the north Londoners with eight goals, and one assist in just 13 outings (transfermarkt), including each in his previous six appearances.
We are expecting a positive reaction from the Gunners, but still, City should get something out of the game. Their record against top-six opposition has been exemplary with just one defeat against Liverpool this term.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
Image – Getty