Arsenal's record against Manchester City has been abysmal in recent years. The Gunners have failed to record a Premier League win over the Citizens since December 2015 — before Pep Guardiola had even arrived at the Etihad Stadium.
If Mikel Arteta wants to compete for the league title this term, that run needs to end this weekend when his side welcome City to the Emirates Stadium. Last season, the Citizens won 4-1 at home and 3-1 away against the north London outfit, although the two English heavyweights played out a 1-1 draw back in August during the Community Shield — which Arsenal eventually won on penalties.
That match saw Arteta deploy summer signing Kai Havertz upfront, a position that he hasn't played since, with the German international utilised in a deeper role since then. The former Chelsea playmaker has struggled in midfield, often letting the game pass him by whilst struggling to create any meaningful opportunities when he does get time on the ball.
But Sunday's highly-anticipated clash is the chance to show his undeniable talent, especially if he is used further forward. In the Community Shield, Arsenal regularly played it long to the 24-year-old given his aerial strengths.
City's suffocating press could be bypassed because of his prowess in the air, a trait that goes slightly underrated when Havertz's attributes are discussed. In fact, Havertz boasted a 57.2% success rate in aerial duels last season, as per fbref, ranking higher than the likes of Tomas Soucek, Harry Maguire and Ivan Toney in the same category.
When the Gunners welcomed Pep Guardiola's men to the Emirates last season, the away side frequently played a long game themselves, a clever tactic to disrupt the Gunners' man-to-man pressing structure.Read on football.london