The big match is just round the corner. It’s big because simply put we have to win it to close the gap on both Chelsea and Man city and we also need to prove our title credentials.
Man city are enjoying a good run of games and they have been one of the two teams to have won against Chelsea this season. Last season they did the double over Chelsea and got 4 out of 6 points against us. Our record in the last few matches against them at their home has not been good at all. No matter how Man City fairs in the league, they step up a gear when they are facing a top team and they are going to do the same thing tomorrow. We would have to be at our best to get the maximum points.
Coming to team news, we have only got Sagna returning from his injury. Koscielny has a 20 percent chance whereas Wilshere won’t feature as he starts his three match ban from tomorrow. Vermaelen and Van Persie are still out.
Probable Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Diaby, Fabregas, Song, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin
At the back Fabianski will return along with the centre backs that faced Shakhtar. Sagna will feature as he is back even though Eboue did a great job in his absence. The midfield is where it will be difficult to decide. I am going with Fabregas, Song and Diaby because we would need physical players tomorrow in the mid and Fabregas is our key player. Up front Nasri would return along with Chamakh and Arshavin. I have gone with Arshavin because he performs in the big games and he would need to prove a point tomorrow after many fans have criticized him due to his lackluster display against Birmingham.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosicky and Gibbs start for Clichy and Arshavin though I would like to see Rosicky come on as a substitute because he certainly adds spark when he comes on. As for Clichy he had a good game in mid week so I would start with him and keep Gibbs for the next match. Walcott should also be brought on as a substitute to test Man City late on in the game.
The match is going to be tight. Man City is going to keep the mid field packed as they did against Chelsea and try to hit us on the counter. Man City is very good on the counter and they certainly can finish with the likes of Tevez in their team. And if given space they certainly can play football and be a real pain in the back-side for any team.
We would need a team performance like that shown against Chelsea and the finishing shown against Shakhtar to get a result. We will create chances but the main thing will be to get the goals. Patience will be the key here as Man City can sit back and take pressure.
There will be lots of physical battles tomorrow. Most of these battles will be in the centre as the team who will control the midfield will have the upper edge. Song and Diaby will need to be quick tomorrow to get a hold on the mid field.
As I have said before that it’s a must win game because if we lose or get a draw we will be way behind Chelsea and Man City and if Man Utd and Spurs also win we will be behind them too and I certainly can’t take Spurs going ahead of us.
Let’s hope for an entertaining match and an exceptional performance by Fabregas and company. It is a big day tomorrow and we have to show the world that we are not to be taken lightly.
Keep the faith and fingers crossed. Enjoy the match from where ever you watch.