Mar 28, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
- Manchester City has not conceded a goal in 508 minutes.
- Of the eight times City has scored 5 or more goals in a game this season, only one came on the road.
- A win would put the Gunners three points from the top; a loss gives Everton a chance to pull within three of Arsenal.
It’s a pivotal match for both clubs in the top-four picture as red-hot Manchester City travels to the Emirates for a date with Arsene Wenger‘s Gunners at 1:30pm ET on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
For Manchester City, who have not conceded a goal in over five straight Premier League matches, the title is theirs to lose – and so are the record books. Another clean sheet would put their streak at a club record 598 minutes. Already, their streak is City’s best in the top flight since 1915.
Add the fact that Manuel Pellegrini and company have bagged 11 goals in that span (eight in their last two) and Arsenal will have plenty to think about on both ends of the pitch.
The same can’t be said for the Gunners.
Wenger’s bunch have been up to their usual late-season slide recently, picking up just four points thus far through March and seeing themselves outscored 9-3 largely thanks to a 6-0 spanking by Chelsea.
With an away win, Arsenal are all but mathematically eliminated from the title contention, while Manchester City would kick off their three-match gauntlet in a positive fashion.
Following this weekend’s fixture, City will host Southampton at the Etihad before traveling to Anfield for a potential title-decider against Liverpool. Following that, City could be in the clear with just Sunderland, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Everton, Aston Villa, and West Ham left on the docket, making this stretch even more important.
Not too much has changed on the injury front for either side. Arsenal will still be without Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere, while Laurent Koscielny misses out thanks to a calf injury. Pellegrini misses Sergio Aguero and Matija Nastasic while welcoming back David Silva.
What they’re saying:
Pellegrini on Arsenal: “I think Arsenal have a chance of winning the title. Maybe they didn’t play well or have the results they needed in the last two matches. But I think that all the teams will drop points also from now until the end of the season, so I continue thinking that Arsenal have a lot of chances to fight for the title.”
Wenger on their current position: “We want to finish first in the league and everything else, the other priorities are still there. You want to be in the Champions League of course, but it is never good enough to be anything other than first and you hope always you are the best. If you ask any team, and they have to be in the top four (so) you cannot say as well it is a shame, but you want to be first – you do not work day and night to be second.”
David Silva on City’s position: “I think another win would make us favorites. There will still be a long way to go but we’ll be in a great position going into the final few weeks. If we win them all, there is nothing anyone can do to stop us.”
With two teams coming into the match in almost completely opposite form, there’s an easy route. Arsenal will have to fight hard to win the match, and Wenger will have them looking for revenge after the Chelsea defeat led to many counting them out. It’s hard to see a club like the Gunners laying down and dying like they did at Stamford Bridge twice in such a short span, and for that reason I like a 2-2 draw in this match, much to the delight of Chelsea and Liverpool fans.
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