Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Gunners Will Upset Overrated Premier League Leaders

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IDecember 16, 2011

Arsenal's season-defining match on Sunday will see them shock Manchester City and prove that they are legitimate Premier League title contenders this season.

City's 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Monday was a disappointing performance, and since they were beaten by Napoli on November 22 in a match that pretty much sealed their Champions League fate, they have been rather unimpressive.

After an atrocious start to the season, the Gunners have climbed back into the league title race and currently sit fifth in the table with 29 points.

Arsenal's attack led by Robin van Persie will carry the club to victory at the Etihad on Sunday. The Dutch striker's 15 goals this campaign ties Thierry Henry, Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand for the most goals ever after 15 matches in Premier League history. Van Persie's run of good form is a major reason Arsenal is unbeaten in their last eight league matches. 

The Gunners attack will meet a City defense that has conceded at least one goal in eight straight league matches, their worst run in about three years.

Micah Richards is expected to return to the lineup after missing two matches with a calf injury, but his calf will be tested by the exceptional speed of Gervinho and Theo Walcott on the wings. Both of them have been spectacular for Arsenal this season.

Arsenal will not be intimidated by Manchester City's impressive home record, and proved they could win big games on the road when they made Chelsea look bad on October 29 with a 5-3 victory at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners have won 10 of the 14 league games against City in Manchester, and a win at the Etihad this weekend could define their season and make potential transfer targets believe that Arsenal can win trophies now and in the near future.

Arsenal's midfield trio has played quite well this season, with the likes of Mikel Arteta playing the Cesc Fabregas role in the middle of the pitch, Aaron Ramsey giving youth and energy to the team, and Alex Song becoming a playmaker in addition to his physical defensive play.

Arsenal should be able to get after the left side of the City defense which includes center-back Joleon Lescott and left-back Pablo Zabaleta, who is replacing the suspended Gael Clichy. 

With Richards returning to fitness he could be vulnerable at right-back as well, and overrated James Milner would be a welcomed sight in Roberto Mancini's starting XI for Arsenal.

City is starting to feel the pressure after a lackluster Champions League campaign and seeing their league lead shrink to two points after it looked like they might run away with the title.

Arsenal have been in fantastic form the past two months, and will catch the league leaders at the right time.

An inspired Gunners side led by Robin van Persie will lead Arsenal to victory and prove they are legitimate Premier League title contenders this season.

Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.


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