Arsenal fell to a lethargic 1-1 draw against Southampton at The Emirates last week, in a performance that will have done little to quell criticism that this talented team struggles to maintain consistent form. Arsene Wenger will be looking to his players to step up to the plate against the reigning champions tomorrow afternoon, a match in which his players should not lack in motivation given the ex-team-mates they could likely be squaring up against.
Here are 10 things you should know about Arsenal and Manchester City ahead of their Premier League cash tomorrow afternoon at The Emirates:
1. Theo Walcott looks set to sign a new contract and his recent form has been key to his negotiating position. The pacey striker has been flourishing in a more central role this season, establishing himself as the club’s top scorer with eight and a accuracy rate of 73% for 33 shots.
2. Should he be able to remain fit, Kieran Gibbs is set to play a big role at Arsenal in upcoming seasons. The 23-year-old is flourishing this season, with a 74% tackle success percentage and only nine fouls conceded.
3. Jack Wilshere may have been injured for almost a year but he’s clearly intent on making up for lost time. The midfield prodigy has completed 351 passes in his opponent’s half this season, at a rate of one every 2.5 minutes, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
4. His midfield partner Santi Cazorla remains the driving creative force in the Arsenal line-up. However, the Spanish magician has compiled an incredible 793 successful passes in the upper half of the pitch, to complement his 14 dribbles, also a squad record. He’s an industry-best 10/3 at 888sport.com to translate this passing mastery into a goal against City and score at any time.
5. Despite being a virtual ever-present since his arrival from Everton, Mikel Arteta continues to be Arsenal’s weakest link from a disciplinary perspective, having racked up 46 fouls and two yellow cards so far this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
6. Man City secured a comfortable victory over a typically dogged Stoke in a 3-0 win at The Etihad last week. Pablo Zabaleta, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero all chipped in for City in a performance which suggests their defence of their title is still alive and well.
7. Although his playing time has been restricted this season, Edin Dzeko is managing to edge out his striker colleagues in the battle for City’s most accurate front-man. He has a shot on target rate of 63% from 35 attempts, compared to 61% from 54 for Sergio Aguero and 62% from 60 attempts for Carlos Tevez. Dzeko is 15/8 at 888sport.com to add to his goal total at any time against the Gunners.
8. Yaya Toure continues to be statistically the most influential midfielder in the league, having compiled an enormous 916 total of passes completed in the opponent’s half this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
9. Carlos Tevez has been scoring and providing goals at a better rate than almost anyone in the Premier League this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He’s ranked second for combine goals and assists with 17.
10. Controversial striker Mario Balotelli has been taking up a fair few column inches this season but Roberto Mancini will be looking for him to improve his accuracy in front of goal and truly establish himself as one of the better strikers in the league. He currently only has one goal from 13 on target shots, and an accuracy rate of 43% from 30 attempts. The enigmatic Italian is an industry-best 11/4 at 888sport.com to find the net at anytime against Arsenal.
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