The first real chance on Saturday to see just how much Manchester City have progressed following their 12 month spending spree when they take on Arsenal and it’s just one of several fascinating top flight fixtures in England this weekend.
With an open cheque book, I have been really impressed with the signings Mark Hughes has made at Eastlands and focussing on players with Premier League experience seems to be paying off. City have started the season better than could have been expected, beating Blackburn, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth, all without conceding, and they should be good enough for at least a share of the spoils against the Gunners.
Much has been made of the tremendous amount of attacking talent now at Hughes’ disposal but the spine of the team from front to back looks key to me and the likes of Shay Given, Gareth Barry and Steven Ireland have certainly made them tough to beat. Joleon Lescott’s arrival from Everton adds further stability defensively and the Welshman has any number of options to choose from right throughout the side. >
Clean sheets have been the key to success so far for City but Emmanuel Adebayor, seemingly relishing a new challenge following his summer arrival from Saturday’s opponents, has lead the line brilliantly and he’ll be champing at the bit to get stuck into William Gallas and his chums come 3 o’clock.
Carlos Tevez is an injury doubt for Saturday’s clash but Craig Bellamy, in the continued absence of Roque Santa Cruz, is a more than able deputy and I expect the home side to emerge with at least a point.
One couldn’t help but be impressed with Arsenal and their effort at Old Trafford before the international break, despite losing by the odd goal in three, and they are not written off lightly. Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin have started in the season in fine style but it is the midfield trio of Abou Diaby, Denilson and Alexander Song that have really caught the eye and Arsene Wenger will also be delighted to welcome back Cesc Fabregas from injury. That said, City have a point to prove and the away side have their work cut out. >
I’d have had both teams priced fairly evenly and was surprised to see Manchester City available at approaching 3.00 on Betfair. On the flip side, the visitors certainly look short enough at just 2.60 and I’m keen to take them on at those odds, despite their undoubted talent.