Big-spending Manchester City are set to take on Arsenal in the English Premier League this Saturday, in what will reveal a lot to the viewing public, about whether or not the Sky Blues are contenders or pretenders.
City, who spent nearly £120 million in the European summer purchasing big-names such as Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Gareth Barry, have begun the new campaign well with a 100% record so far.
The Sky Blues are currently fourth on the table with three wins from three and they are yet to concede a goal.
But Arsenal will arrive at Eastlands as the Sky Blues biggest test so far this term. Indeed, we’ll find out a lot about City this Saturday.
Arsenal themselves, have begun the season impressively with a number of lopsided victories before their 10-minute second-half collapse up in Manchester (at Old Trafford) a fortnight ago when they lost 2-1 to the Red Devils.
There’s no doubt the Gunners will be looking to right their Mancunian failures of a fortnight ago and City will be in their sights.
But ironically it’s former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor who is hitting his straps for City so far, with 3 goals in 3 league matches, and he will be a major threat to the Gunners.
Defender Kolo Toure also will meet his former club for the first time, having left the Emirates for Manchester City in late-July.
The pair are amongst a long list of new players at the City of Manchester Stadium this season and due to that large influx, many critics believed the Sky Blues would need time to gel.
Yet plenty of the football City have produced so far this campaign has been fluid, suggesting there’s no need for a ‘getting to know each other’ period.
Gareth Barry has settled in at the heart of the midfield, while combining Tevez and Adebayor with Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland has provided City with plenty of creativity and goal threats.
Meanwhile, Shay Given (who arrived in Manchester way back in January) has proved the right man for the job in goals and he’ll be hoping new central defensive pairing Joleon Lescott and Toure can get an understanding in front of him.
Indeed, that pairing will be challenged by an Arsenal side who put six past last season’s fifth place finishers Everton on the opening weekend of this campaign.
On the other hand, Carlos Tevez injured his knee whilst with Argentina last weekend in their 3-1 loss to Brazil. Tevez will miss the Arsenal game, but his City teammate Robinho looks likely to play despite an ankle problem from that match.
Nevertheless, there will still be plenty of quality on the park and the stakes will still be high, with City hoping to make an impression.
And Adebayor, who has extra incentive to impress, told Sky Sports, “My confidence is very high. I want to keep on enjoying myself, keep scoring goals for this club - especially as I will play against all my old friends - Gael Clichy, Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue.
“It will be a tough game for us. We know how good Arsenal are. I think if we play with this motivation we have a chance to win because we are playing at home.”
And even though it is still very early in the new season, a Manchester City victory on Saturday would do a lot for their ambitions. Arsenal too have their own aspirations this season and taking three points home from Manchester will put them in good stead to achieve those.
It all equates to an exciting Saturday afternoon in England’s north-west and on TV sets around the world.