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Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Key Battles Arsenal Cannot Afford To Lose If They Want To Beat Manchester City

Arsenal will have the best chance to get over their frustrating Everton defeat in the midweek when they visit Etihad Stadium this Sunday. With both the sides having pretty exciting players, the game is bound to come down to certain duels at various areas of the pitch.

Alexis Sanchez vs Nicolas Otamendi

Arsenal’s Chilean forward has been in top form this season scoring 12 goals in his 16 appearances so far. He looks unstoppable against any defence and hardly any defender has looked confident in shutting him out so far. His off the ball movement and work rate has helped him immensely to get the goals and it explains his 6 assists. He will be a major threat for City.
Nicolas Otamendi will perhaps be the man who’ll be expected to keep the Chilean under the lid. Otamendi is the only consistent centre back City have at the moment after John Stone’s maddening inconsistency. The former Valencia defender has won 23 tackles this season with a success rate of 44%. He has made 36 interceptions, 74 clearances and four blocks.

Raheem Sterling vs Nacho Monreal

Sterling has been petrifying defenders this season so far and Nacho Monreal will have a tough task at hand defending the speedster. The England winger knows the optimal usage of his pace and strength and it has often prevented wing backs covering him to go on the offensive. Sterling has scored four goals this season and has also registered two assists. Along with that pace, he has a shot accuracy of 65%.
Monreal has been brilliant for Arsenal this season and the fierce competition with Kieran Gibbs for the first team spot has somewhat helped as the Englishman ensures Monreal never drops his levels. He is solid at the back and looks quite lethal on the offensive too. Sterling’s pace will be a handful for the Spaniard, so he’ll have to be wary while making the forward forays.

Francis Coquelin vs Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has undoubtedly been the best playmaker in the league so far. The Belgian can create a brilliant pass out of nothing and alongside David Silva, the former Wolfsburg midfielder has been devastating. He operates with a wide range and tends to move on the wings to provide crosses. He has created a whopping 9 assists so far and Arsenal will need to restrict his movement.
Since his surprise break into the first team, Coquelin has been the first-choice defensive midfielder for Wenger. Ironically, it was a City game two years back that first brought him to the limelight. And he tends to do well against City. However, he has to do way better this time as he will be having an uphill task of marking De Bruyne. He wins 55% of his average duels and has an 81% passing accuracy. He has been a big influence in Arsenal’s campaign this season.

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