Man City v Arsenal: five key battles

Arsenal travel to Manchester City on Sunday in a game that may prove crucial to both sides hopes this season. There will be star quality across the pitch, but here are five potential contests that could help decide the outcome.

Alexis Sanchez v John Stones

Sanchez has found the net against City in each of the last two seasons and will hope to add to the six goals he has scored in his last five matches. England man Stones was dropped for the midweek win over Watford but is expected to return to the City defence.

Mesut Ozil v Fernando

With Ilkay Gundogan ruled our for several months, City are struggling for numbers in the heart of their midfield. Fernando, who replaced the stricken Gundogan against Watford, will have the task – alongside Yaya Toure – of reining in Ozil. The German playmaker was criticised by Gunners fans for his role in Everton’s winner during the week.

Laurent Koscielny v Nolito

Sergio Aguero is another big miss for City – his reckless foul on Chelsea’s David Luiz has landed him a four-match ban, leaving City with a selection dilemma. Youngster Kelechi Iheanacho has never let his side down, but the more experienced Nolito may get the nod after his appearance against Watford.

Nacho Monreal v Raheem Sterling

Despite Kieran Gibbs’ recent good form in Europe, Monreal retains his place at left-back in the Premier League. The 30-year-old will have a job on his hands up against Harlesden-raised former QPR trainee Sterling, who after some stuttering displays of late was back on form in the week.

Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott v Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva

It’s not only City who have pace to burn down the right flank – the Bellerin-Walcott axis is surely the quickest combination in the league, and they will be central to Arsenal’s attempts to catch City on the break. Silva and Kolarov will be the ones to have to catch them.

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