Arsenal hopes hinge on duo
Arsenal can expect a stern test of their title credentials when fellow hopefuls Manchester City make the trip to the Emirates tomorrow evening.
The Gunners are just two points off the pace set by surprise leaders Leicester City, while the Citizens trail the secondplaced Londoners by just one point.
However, Arsenal’s hopes of recording a positive result could hinge on the potential availability of injured duo Alexis Sánchez and Mikel Arteta, who will face late fitness tests ahead of kickoff.
Sánchez has played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s impressive start to the campaign, bagging six goals and providing one assist before suffering a hamstring strain against Norwich last month.
The absence of Arteta has not been as keenly felt, although his availability would be a welcome fillip in the absence of the injured Francis Coquelin.
Manager Arsène Wenger will be without the services of several other key players in the shape of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomáš Rosický and Danny Welbeck.
Joel Campbell is set to make his fifth consecutive start for Arsenal, while Theo Walcott will, in all likelihood, deputise for Sánchez if the Chile international fails a late fitness test.
Wenger told a press conference this week: “We are quite far from the game, but at the moment, everybody who played against Aston Villa is available for Monday night and there are one or two possible comebacks.
“Maybe there is a very slight chance for Sánchez to be in the squad again, but it is too early to be sure about it. He’s running, but not participating in full training.”
City are not without injury problems of their own though, with star striker Sergio Agüero hopeful about making a return to action.
The prolific Argentinian frontman is back in full training after recovering from the heel injury that kept him on the sidelines for City’s past four fixtures.
If he is fit to play, Agüero could be joined by two other key players, with skipper Vincent Kompany and fullback Pablo Zabaleta also facing a race to be fit in time for tomorrow’s encounter. Arsenal have lost just once in 18 Premier League games at home to Manchester City (W11, D6). Manchester City have not kept a single clean sheet in the eight games Vincent Kompany has missed this season. Manchester City have recorded just this many wins in 89 attempts at the home of Arsenal. Arsenal have won this many times at home to Manchester City (59.5% win ratio). minutes: Manchester City have gone more than three and a half games without scoring away from home in the Premier League.
TANGO Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez (left) and Manchester City’s Jesús Navas battle for the ball in a previous match between the teams. Sánchez is a doubtful starter for tomorrow’s clash