Arsenal have endured an inconsistent first half to the season, encapsulated by their last two Premier League results – a convincing 7-3 victory against Newcastle followed by an awful performance in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Arsene Wenger’s side who are currently four points adrift of a coveted Champions League place are sitting in sixth position and are hoping striker Olivier Giroud passes a late fitness test on Sunday. French midfielder Abou Diaby could return after playing for the under-21s, but Wenger is unlikely to risk him.
Manchester City, who returned 912 unsold tickets to Arsenal, will be hoping to keep in touch with league leaders and city rivals Manchester United with a positive result at The Emirates. The Sky Blues currently sit seven-points behind United with six-points less than their total after the same number of games last season.
Roberto Mancini will be without powerhouse Yaya Toure as he is away with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations along with brother Kolo. Sergio Aguero (thigh injury) and Samir Nasri (suspended) are also missing for City. Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov has recovered from a groin injury and is available for selection.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Manchester City 1 (Lescott) Arsenal 1 (Koscielny), Premier League, September 2012
Arsenal 1 (Arteta) Manchester City 0, Premier League, April 2012
Manchester City 1 (Silva) Arsenal 0, Premier League, December 2011
Arsenal are third in the Premier League form guide having lost only once in their last six, above opponents City.
Arsenal have won nine matches in their first 20 league games, their lowest number since the 1998-99 campaign.
Arsenal have scored 40 goals in the Premier League so far, more then at the same point last season with van Persie in the side. Only the two Manchester clubs have scored more.
City have six points fewer than they were at this stage last term.
Mancini’s men have the best defensive record in the league conceding only 19 goals this season.
Manchester City have not won in the league at Arsenal since 1975.
DaMarcus Beasley in 2007 was the last City player to have scored at The Emirates.
Arsenal to win: 2.7
Manchester City to win: 2.82
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 4pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm.