Could Manchester City and Arsenal abandon their usual possession-based game on Sunday?

In a game likely to bear huge impact on the ongoing three-way title race in the Premier League, Manchester City play host to Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday.

The Gunners have already beaten the reigning champions at the Emirates this season, and they’ll surely try and complete an amazing double to boost their chances of lifting the trophy at the end of the season, but going to the Etihad to try and beat last season’s treble winners is obviously not an easy task.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spent three years at Manchester City working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, before returning to the club where he ended his playing days to lead a new era from the dugout. It’s therefore no surprise that the two Spaniards nourish similar styles, wanting their players to control the ball for as much of the game as possible and keep it on the ground whenever possible.

But come Sunday, it just *might* happen that one of the two managers – or both – abandons his usual game in favour of a more practical approach under the circumstances. With Rodri sitting ahead of the City back line and Declan Rice patrolling the same area for Arsenal, playing through the opposition with short passes and movement through the middle of the park is likely to prove very challenging for both sides.

Therefore, it should not be forgotten that both sides are also well-equipped for playing long balls from the back. Both goalkeepers are very good at finding desired targets some 60 or 70 yards away, as is City’s backup option Stefan Ortega, who will probably be deputizing for the injured Ederson Moraes if the Brazil No.1 doesn’t recover in time. Also, in Erling Haaland and Kai Havertz, both teams have attackers more than capable of winning aerial duels and skilled at hold-up play.

If the two teams indeed choose to play over the middle of the park rather than through it, the main benefactors are likely to be wide attackers, whom the strikers would look to employ via…

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Author : Veselin Trajkovic

Publish date : 2024-03-28 23:22:46

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