Well, it looks like Thomas Partey is at the ground…
Will he be on the bench, starting?
Is this the biggest game of the season so far? You’d be hard pushed to argue against it, looking at the table.
After an astonishing first half of the season, Arsenal lead the way with 51 points from their 21 games. Manchester City are close behind, on 48 points but have played a game more.
No doubt Mikel Arteta’s men deserve to be where they are having lost just twice all season and only dropping 12 points (and seven of those in their last five league games) but the question – and indeed the task – is to keep themselves there.
The crucial and quite possibly the deciding factor, however, is that City and Arsenal are yet to meet in the league at all, with tonight’s fixture and the corresponding fixture at the Etihad Stadium left to play on April 26.
A win for either side could be enormous. Win and Arsenal extend their lead to six points with a game in hand. Should City win they would go to the top of the table on goal difference, having played a game more. A draw and things are as they were, although that really favors leaders Arsenal.
Certainly, Guardiola does not want his team to give up the title without a fight. With their form generally stuttering from their usual high standards, tonight would be a good moment to kick-start their campaign.
The City manager said: “The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are.
“If they beat us because they are better then this is sport, I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there. You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands.
“We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like. To fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. If we don’t, accept it, but we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.”
News: Partey likely to miss crucial City clash
By Sam Dean, at the Emirates
Thomas Partey is expected to miss this evening’s crucial top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal and Manchester City after picking up a muscle injury.
Partey, who is one of Arsenal’s most important players, was set to start the match at the base of Mikel Arteta’s midfield.
His expected absence represents a major blow to Arsenal, given his importance to Arteta’s system and the quality of tonight’s opponents.
Ghana international Partey has started all but three league matches this season, with Arsenal losing only one of those games, away to Everton earlier this month.
The change in plans will likely mean a first start for Arsenal for Jorginho, who signed from Chelsea in the January transfer window.
Jorginho was initially bought as a cover for Partey and he has so far played a total of 31 minutes in an Arsenal shirt.
In an interview in the matchday program ahead of the City match, Jorginho said of his move to north London: “It is a good opportunity for me to have a new challenge at this age.
“I really like the way the team is playing, the work that is being done, and what we are doing here is very exciting. I have looked for a long time to be honest and thought what they were doing here is just amazing.
“Now I am part of it, so it’s what we are building and what we are beginning now. I’m really happy being part of it because we have got young players, hungry players, and a really good coach with an amazing mentality, teaching his football to young players. So I think the future at this club is going to be very good and we can aim very high.”
The game kicks off at 7.30pm GMT and could see City go top with a win against their closest rivals.