Arsenal restart the Premier League season with a difficult trip to Manchester City. Here are three advantages Mikel Arteta and his team have over others.
In less than two weeks, Arsenal will recommence their Premier League campaign. It all starts with a trip to Manchester City, their game in hand from before the current suspension of play. It is a daunting task to travel to the champions, and the Gunners were dismantled in a 3-0 defeat in the return fixture thanks to a scintillating City performance earlier this season. But there are some unique reasons to be tentatively positive.
Here are three advantages that Arsenal have in facing City that many teams would usually be without.
3. A lack of City rhythm
Manchester City are a brilliant team. Even with Liverpool’s superb individual season, they are the best in the Premier League when everything is clicking. Arsenal experienced their very best in the return fixture in December. City ripped the Gunners to shreds in a matter of minutes, Kevin de Bruyne producing one of the best individual midfield displays of the season. Trust me, I was there.
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However, no one really knows how teams will respond to the extended layoff. There have been several muscle strains and sore bodies as a result of teams returning to full training this week, while it is unexpected that players and teams will be at their sharpest in their first competitive outing after more than three months without a match.
City are a team that rely on rhythm. Their movement is interconnected. They play with a brilliant cohesiveness that carves through opponents. Can they immediately get back to this level after such a long lay off? Throw in the lack of home advantage, as proven by the Bundesliga results thus far, and there is reason to think that Pep Guardiola’s side will not be at their absolute best.