Arsenal come into this game off the back of their first defeat in 14 domestic matches. Arsene Wenger has had no luck against Merseyside teams in this campaign, his only previous loss coming on the opening day at home to Liverpool. Everton clearly spooked the Gunners with their vociferous support. They were so loud that it gave Mesut Ozil a split personality, one minute he was all mild-mannered assist-machine, the next a half-time brawler.
With Sergio Aguero in lockdown, Ozil can put his gloves away on Sunday. The Manchester City defence is developing a reputation for shirking scraps. Pep Guardiola watched his side keep a first clean sheet since October in midweek. Their 2-0 win over Watford wasn’t without its negatives as Ilkay Gundogan went off injured with Guardiola admitting that it could be a while before City fans see him return. Luckily, they have a reborn Yaya Toure in midfield.
The Ivorian midfielder’s drink-driving misdemeanour hasn’t affected his place in the squad. Maybe Guardiola feels he’s too important to discard for a second time this season. After all, he didn’t even realise that there was brandy in his diet coke. No, honestly, he didn’t. Stop laughing.
Toure is one of the few players with muscle and power who could seize control of the game for City. But with Arsenal boasting an array of fast attackers, we see the visitors as the more likely to win this Super Sunday clash. It should be end to end and we wouldn’t be surprised if it was full of goals. The Gunners won’t be as kind to Guardiola as a weakened Watford were.
Manchester City XI: Bravo, Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne, Iheanacho
Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi, Walcott, Sanchez