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Stuart Dalgleish 22nd Sep 2012 - 16:47

City are Gunner be tested by Wenger’s men

Man City v Arsenal preview - 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1

After their heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid during the week, it's back to Premier League business for Manchester City (8/11) as they host Arsenal (4/1, draw 5/2) at the Etihad.

Roberto Mancini's men are coming up against a reinvigorated Gunners team who seem to be playing with confidence throughout the side, which is a far cry from how they were at this stage of last season.

It can be no coincidence that Arsenal's improved defensive performances have been happening with a fully fit Thomas Vermaelen (25/1 first goal) marshalling the backline, the big Belgian has had his injury problems but much like Vincent Kompany (25/1) to City he is a vital to Arsene Wenger's team.

After a couple of indifferent displays in front of goal at the start of the season, the Londoners are also creating plenty of chances and scoring well too, which is something they were poor at last season.

One man that has helped them achieve their usual slick level of play has been Santi Cazorla (11/1), Arsenal have got a real bargain on their hands in the skilful Spaniard and supporters will hope that he isn't the next key player out of the Emirates if someone like Man City or Man Utd come calling in the summer.

Cazorla and Lukas Podolski (15/2) have linked up fantastically well so far, the icing on the cake for Wenger will come when big money striker Olivier Giroud (9/1) can start firing then they really could be a genuine contender this season.

As it is, they are still behind the Manchester teams and Chelsea in reality, and the Citizens will look to show why they're the champions in Lancashire on Sunday.

It has been a solid rather than spectacular start for City; two wins at home have been hard earned, while they've not been at their best in two draws on the road.

It has not helped City that their main man from last season Sergio Aguero (9/2) has missed part of the campaign so far, the fitness levels of Carlos Tevez (4/1) have really been tested and Edin Dzeko (6/1) has been used more than Mancini would've liked.

Aguero should be available to the hosts though, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't in the starting line-up most weeks from here on in.

He and Tevez were sensational towards the end of last season, and it's 17/5 that the pair both score against Arsenal.

Samir Nasri had been looking good at the Etihad recently, but he will miss the game with his former employers with a hamstring injury.

Arsenal will again call upon the services of Vito Mannone between the sticks as Wojciech Szczesny remains absent with an ankle injury.

The Italian stopper has impressed so far this season, but I think he will be hard pushed to keep City's potent attack out - both teams to score looks likely at 13/20, over 2.5 goals is also the same price.

We once again have two enhanced odds wincasts on the game, Tevez to score in a home win is pushed out to 2/1 from 6/4, the opposite scenario with Podolski is boosted from 11/2 to a really tempting 8/1.

If you wanted to be a bit maverick, you could look at the German striker pouncing at anytime but Man City to win the match at 7/2, the former Bayern Munich man is looking in good nick so far and is sure to feature in the bulk of Arsenal's attacks.

Arsenal in the draw no bet market could be worth a shout at 12/5, the home team strong favourites at 3/10.



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