The Premier League restarts today with a glamour fixture as Manchester City hosts Arsenal while Sheffield United play away to Aston Villa.
The league was forced to suspend its activities following the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic but the government have given the go-ahead after two months for football to return, although without the fans for the remainder of the current season.
The matchday experience will not be there for fans but the tension and excitement will be the same as Mikel Arteta leads the Gunnars to the Etihad for the first time since he left to manage the North London side.
It will be a clash of the master versus his apprentice and Arteta is up for the challenge. Although he confessed that all he got for Pep Guardiola is enormous respect after working under him for three years.
“He was an influence for me since I was 15 years old and we met at Barcelona, both as players,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference.
“In my coaching career and my personal life, he has an enormous influence. If I have to talk about the person he is, his values, the way he has treated me and how he deals with the players and the staff around him, it’s phenomenal.
“As a coach, I have learned so much from him, we have spent some amazing moments together, some difficult ones as well, but the experience next to him has been incredible.”
The head-to-head record is a fascinating one because out of 45 clashes, Arsenal have won 23, Man City 12 and there have been 10 draws. But the underlining factor is that the Cityzens have won their last six encounters against Arsenal by two or more goals and it will prove a difficult test for the gunners this evening. They have conceded 17 goals in those matches and scored just twice.
There are no new injury worry for both sides. Leroy Sane is back and in full training for Manchester City. Arsenal have a complete squad, so its all set for an epic encounter.
Aguero vs David Luiz
David Luiz may be set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season but he must focus on the task of stopping Sergio Aguero. The Argentine has scored 16 scores this season despite various injury problems and remains a handful for any team. It will be an intriguing battle to watch.
Laporte vs Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was handed the Gunnars captain armband at the start of the season and has carried the goalscoring responsibility of Arsenal with 17 premier league goals so far. Laporte is just returning from a longterm injury but a vital part of Guardiola’s side. This battle is one to look forward to.
Sterling vs Saka
Bukayo Saka was converted to a left wingback following a defensive crisises and has excelled in that position but playing against Raheem Sterling will be a huge test for the youngster who is tipped for a huge future.
Man City: Ederson, Laporte, Stones, Walker, Mendy, Fernandinho, Rodrigo, de Bruyne, Sterling, B. Silva, Aguero.
Arsenal: Leno, Luiz, Holding, Bellerin, Saka, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Martinelli, Ozil, Aubameyang
Man City 3-0 Arsenal.