MX23RW : Monday, June 14 22:17:11| >> :60:308:308:
Oct 17, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
Sterling (23')
Rodri (14'), Cancelo (63'), Dias (68'), Ake (84')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Partey (90+4')

How Arsenal could line up against Manchester City

Sports Mole looks at how Arsenal could line up for Saturday's Premier League showdown with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Mikel Arteta returns to his former employers on Saturday when he takes his Arsenal side to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.

The Gunners have a torrid record against City in the league over recent years, but beat them in the FA Cup semi-final last season and go into this weekend sitting 10 places and five points better off than Pep Guardiola's side - albeit having played a game more.

Arsenal have won three of their four league outings so far to sit fourth in the fledgling table.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Arteta could set the visitors up for the contest.

Possible ARS XI vs. MNC

Out: Pablo Mari (ankle), Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring), Gabriel Martinelli (knee), Calum Chambers (knee)
Doubtful: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ankle), Kieran Tierney (coronavirus), Emile Smith Rowe (shoulder)

> Click here for Arsenal's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match

The most significant question mark hanging over the Arsenal squad ahead of this one surrounds captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who pulled out of Gabon duty during the recent international break due to a sprained ankle.

However, he is expected to recover in time for this one as he searches for a first Premier League goal against Man City; he has played more Premier League minutes without scoring against them than he has any other opponent, but did net twice in the most recent meeting to fire Arsenal to the FA Cup final last season.

There is confusion surrounding the availability of Kieran Tierney too, with the full-back having initially been told to self-isolate for 14 days after coming into close contact with Scotland teammate Stuart Armstrong before the latter tested positive for coronavirus.

Different rules for different governing bodies means that Tierney could yet be granted special dispensation to play, though, with Arteta remaining hopeful he will have the Scot available to him.

Should Tierney play then his position will also be a source of intrigue; after favouring a 3-4-3 formation for much of the season so far, with Tierney on the left of the back three, Arteta switched to a 4-3-3 last time out against Sheffield United.

As it happened, Man City also changed back to a 4-3-3 in their last outing and so Arteta must decide whether to stick with the system which worked against the Blades or revert to three at the back.

Either way, Brazilian duo Gabriel Magalhaes and David Luiz will hope to start at the heart of the defence again, although Gabriel's surprise omission against Liverpool recently suggests that Arteta does not have complete faith in his ability to cope with such a high press just yet.

The most exciting aspect of the game for Arsenal fans may be the first chance to see deadline-day arrival Thomas Partey in action, with the £45m man in contention to make his debut.

Again, the formation of the team is likely to determine his role, but Arteta will likely have to choose between Granit Xhaka or Dani Ceballos alongside him if Thomas is thrown straight in from the start.

Alexandre Lacazette is expected to come back into the starting XI ahead of Eddie Nketiah, while Bukayo Saka will hope that his goal last time out is enough to earn him another start.

> Click here to see how Man City could line up for this contest

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Thomas Partey pictured for Atletico Madrid in July 2020
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Thomas Partey: 'Convincing Aubameyang to stay showed Arsenal's ambition'

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