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Premier League

Now, the likely Premiership decider is here as City host Arsenal




Manchester City and Arsenal meet at Etihad Stadium for a match that could go a long way toward deciding the Premier League title.

Arsenal heads to Manchester protecting a five-point lead but has played two more games than City, the defending champion.

While Arsenal is on a run of three straight draws, City has won eight of its last nine games on a familiar-looking end-of-season charge.

Manchester City go into their biggest Premier League match of the season with almost a clean bill of health with nearly all first-team players available for selection against Arsenal.

The Gunners visit the Etihad with their title hopes on the line, with a loss set to hand City the advantage to lift the trophy for a third successive year.


The two teams go into the match in contrasting moods.

Arsenal have drawn their last three matches, including Friday’s breathless 3-3 clash with Southampton. Those six points dropped mean they now lie just five points ahead of City  having played two games more.

Meanwhile, City are aiming to become the first team to win the treble since Manchester United in 1999. After booking a Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola watched his side ease past Sheffield United to make the FA Cup final thanks to a Riyad Mahrez hat-trick.

The Algerian will surely get the nod to play against Arsenal as a result. Guardiola will likely name the now-accustomed 3-2-4-1 formation with 48-goal Erling Haaland leading the line.

Mahrez’s inclusion could see Bernardo Silva drop out with Ilkay Gundogan providing an extra anchor for Kevin De Bruyne to roam forward in the centre of the park. Jack Grealish has nailed down the left flank slot and looks unmoveable right now.


Sitting as the two pivots will be Rodri and John Stones, who has thrived in his new role in recent weeks. Nathan Ake  missed the FA Cup semi-final through injury and is expected to also sit out Wednesday’s clash.

And so Aymeric Laporte may start the match alongside the formidable defensive pair of Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias in the back-three in front of Ederson. The Brazilian was rested against Sheffield United, as were Rodri, Dias, De Bruyne and Stones.

Arsenal have been dealt a blow with William Saliba not being fit in time to face City, a player the Gunners have missed in recent weeks. Midfield powerhouse Granit Xhaka is also sidelined for the contest.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.