Gunners out to test Man City’s resolve
LONDON - Reuters
Arsenak’s Robin van Persie has 15 goals in as many league games this season. AP photoHaving had its armor pierced for the first time this season, leader Manchester City faces a big test of its resolve when Arsenal comes gunning for the team in the Premier League on Dec. 18.
Until the 2-1 defeat by Chelsea on Dec. 12, Roberto Mancini’s side appeared all but untouchable at the top but that first reverse has provided a reality check for City and fuelled the belief of the side’s trying to keep pace with their lightning start.
Throw in its Champions League exit at the group stage the week before and a number of defensive injuries, the visit of the rejuvenated Gunners will shed more light on the durability of Mancini’s expensively assembled machine.
By the time the team faces Arsenal, it could even find itself displaced from the summit by Manchester United who plays at Queen’s Park Rangers in an earlier kickoff.
City, who has 38 points to United’s 36, has looked down on everyone else since mid-October.
The match is a key one for both clubs and comes three weeks after a largely shadow City side beat Arsenal 1-0 in a League Cup quarterfinal at the Emirates Stadium.
Mancini was unworried by City’s unbeaten run ending.
“After 15 games we are on top, with two more points than United,” Mancini said, adding: “We are strong enough to start winning again and one result doesn’t change anything.
“We don’t have a problem bouncing back,” he added, “I am sure we will. At this moment, Arsenal are playing very well, it will be difficult but we need to start again.”
United, like City, was dumped out of the Champions League last week, and will be seeking to extend its unbeaten league run to seven and build on last week’s encouraging 4-1 win over Wolves.
QPR have struggled at home in their return season to the Premier League, winning just one of their seven games.