Manchester City v Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium
23 September, kick-off 4pm BST.
Where to Watch
Coverage starts at 3pm BST and the match will be shown live on Sky Sports1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. You can also follow the match through real time updates via Gamecast on Soccernet.
Manchester City will certainly be disappointed after the Champions League defeat to La Liga champions Real Madrid. Roberto Mancini and his men were on the verge of an historic 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu but the English champions lost concentration in the final five minutes and allowed Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo to fire the home team to victory.
After the defeat the 47-year-old Italian was furious with his team and particularly with keeper Joe Hart for the latter's comments on the game.
"Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves. If anyone should criticise the team it should be me, not Joe Hart. I am the judge, not Joe Hart. It's difficult to take, not because we lost - because you can lose against a team like Real Madrid - but because with two minutes to go we were 2-1 up. We wouldn't have conceded if we had not been defending so deep. We should have had more courage at the end," the Independent quoted Mancini as saying.
The game at Madrid, however, is over. Mancini and City will now have to turn their attention back to domestic concerns, where the champions have yet to be as all-conquering as they were last season. The club managed a 1-1 draw against Stoke City in the last game. The silver lining, though, is that they are yet to lose this season, and their two away draws so far - against Liverpool and Stoke - are a repeat of last season's results.
The game against Madrid highlighted City's defensive frailties so far this season. The team has failed to keep a clean sheet, conceding soft goals to the likes of Southampton and QPR even before Benzema and Ronaldo scored in the last five minutes of the Champions League game.
City did beat Arsenal in a pre-season friendly, in China, with a side missing most of the team's international players, and Mancini will want that form to return... soon. However, he believes the Gunners have strengthened considerably since last season, even if they have lost Robin van Persie.
"They are better than last season, even if they lost some good players. Maybe, because of that, there is less pressure on them this season. They lost van Persie and Song, but the players they have brought in have experience and quality," Goal.com quoted Mancini as saying.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are in high spirits. The Gunners banished their goal-scoring woes with a 6-1 thumping of Southampton in their last league game and followed that with a 2-1 away win over French champions Montpellier in the Champions League.
New signing Lukas Podolski has settled into the groove very quickly and confidently; the German international already has three goals this season and will want to add to that against the league champions. However, despite Arsenal's great form and City's unhappy loss to Real Madrid, Wenger does not want his team to take the Premier League champions lightly.
"I expect them to be focused and play well, but it was a disappointment for them of course. It always takes a little bit away from you. But on our side, let's not have any speculation of the weakness or strength of them, let's focus on us to be at our best. If we are at our best I think we have a great chance to get a good result there," the Telegraph quoted Wenger as saying.
Manchester City Team News
City will probably be without the services of French midfielder Samir Nasri, who left the pitch in Madrid with a suspected hamstring problem. In addition, defender Micah Richards is still unavailable. The good news is that Sergio Aguero is fit and may play a role in this game, although he is unlikely to feature from the outset. The Argentine warmed up during the Madrid encounter but never came on.
His compatriot, Pablo Zabaleta, came on as a substitute for Nasri at the Bernabeu and is also reportedly carrying a hamstring problem. However, the 27-year-old utility player should be fit to face the Gunners.
Italian striker Mario Balotelli will almost certainly start the game, after being left out of the squad for the Real Madrid game. His exclusion led to rumours of yet another bust-up between coach and player, but Mancini moved quickly to dismiss the report and revealed he was rotating his strikers with a view to playing key games with fresh legs.
Manchester City Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Javi Garcia, Barry; Silva, Y Touré, Tevez; Balotelli
Arsenal Team News
Arsenal continue to be without first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has an ankle injury. His compatriot, Lukasz Fabianski, is also unavailable, meaning Italian shot-stopper Vito Mannone will remain the Gunners' No 1 for now.
The big news for Arsenal is the return to full training of injury-plagued midfielder Jack Wilshere. However, given the extent of the 20-year-old midfielder's recent injury problems, Wenger has stressed he will be cautious in bringing his young star back up to full match fitness. This means Wilshere is unlikely to start this game. Also recovering from injury is Ghana's Emmanuel Frimpong.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky and French defender Bacary Sagna, both sidelined following an Achilles injury and a broken leg, are also expected to sit out this match and return in a couple of weeks.
Arsenal Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Diaby; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Gervinho.
Going by recent form, Arsenal should nick this one. However, the Gunners will have to buck history as well - Mancini's side are unbeaten in 31 home league games (29 of those were wins for the hosts).
Manchester City 1 - Arsenal 2
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Mars Curiosity Rover Photos: UFO Hunter Spots Strange 'Ruins,' 'Missile' [PHOTOS, VIDEO]
- Miranda Kerr Exposes Breasts to Crew, Wardrobe Malfunction 'Deliberate Accident?' [PHOTOS]
- How Brad Pitt Avoids Sex Even in Film Scenes After Finding Love in Angelina Jolie [PHOTOS]
- Selena Gomez Spotted with Jaden Smith [PHOTOS]