Arsenal will host Manchester City in the English Premier League’s marquee matchup for the weekend, and this clash between giants carries several intriguing storylines.
Neither team is content with their performances thus far this season. Both clubs will desperately try to take advantage of the spotlight and send a message to the rest of the EPL.
A victory for either side would likely be a significant boost that will allow it to carry a significant amount of momentum into future contests.
Here are the storylines that will play out on the pitch in this showdown.
Arsenal’s Quest for the Top Four
Gunners supporters have voiced their discontent over Arsene Wenger's frugality when it comes to buying and selling players, and many believe this to be at the heart of the club’s trophy drought.
But it is difficult to deliver harsh criticism to a manager who has never let his club finish outside the top four. However, the armor may finally be cracking at the Emirates.
Failing to earn points in this match would keep Arsenal six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham. Spurs have been in fine form recently, and Chelsea is starting to pick up steam again.
Both of these teams will be difficult to unseat, and if the Gunners fail to compete against City, it will be an extremely worrisome sign for Wenger’s ability to keep his streak of top-four finishes alive.
The Title Race Ending Extremely Early
While nothing in the Premier League is ever certain, Manchester City will be thoroughly displeased if it finds itself 10 points behind Manchester United after this weekend.
The Red Devils are taking on Liverpool and are favored to win. With the Citizens facing a tough test at the Emirates, it is entirely possible that United could extend their lead atop the table by another three points.
If this were to happen, it would be extremely difficult for City to close so much ground in the second half of the season.
A victory over Arsenal away from home would not only keep hope alive, but it would put the wind at City’s back when the club desperately needs momentum.
Fall From Grace for the Managers
Prior to this season, Arsene Wenger and Roberto Mancini were two managers who were not expected to face serious questions about the security of their jobs.
But if Arsenal fails to earn a Champions League spot for next season, Wenger’s reign over North London may come to an end as the club looks to start a new era.
Mancini is already facing heat from a monumentally disappointing performance in this year’s UCL campaign, and a trophy drought would likely cause Sheikh Mansour to consider other options.
Both managers will be looking to turn their seasons around as their livelihood may depend on their ability to do so.