Arsenal will hope to offer a distraction from their ongoing Premier League struggles and earn a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The Gunners are in the midst of their worst start to a top-flight season for 46 years, yet the cup competitions have thus far provided welcome relief.
Following wins over the likes of Leicester and Liverpool, Arsenal – who have a critical clash with Chelsea to come on Boxing Day – will now try to become the first team to defeat holders Manchester City in this competition since 2016.
However, the under-pressure Mikel Arteta’s attempts to topple his former employers in a repeat of the 2018 final will not be helped by the absence of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will miss the match with a calf injury.
With kick-off scheduled for 8pm GMT, follow all the build-up and live match action with Standard Sport’s blog below.
Team news coming up
Just under 15 minutes now until we get the official team news from north London.
Will Arteta be tempted to shuffle his pack tonight?
Guardiola not expecting January striker deal
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola is not expecting City – currently eighth in the Premier League and eight points adrift of the title pace – to sign a new striker in January, despite fitness concerns over both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
“No I don’t think so because the economic situation around world is what it is,” said Guardiola.
“All the clubs struggle – we are not an exception.”
On his side’s struggles in front of goal, he added: “We’re struggling, our momentum up front isn’t good. We are creating clear chances that we cannot score and when this happens we are always going to suffer.
“That’s why I’m not able to say how we will be this season. Game by game is the only thing I can do and now we go to London to play Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.”
De Bruyne set to sign new Man City deal
Reports have circulated before tonight’s contest that Kevin De Bruyne is on the verge of signing a contract extension at Manchester City.
Fabrizio Romano says that the reigning PFA Player of the Year is poised to agree a new five-year deal – with a slight improvement on his current £300,000 a week wages – to keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.
De Bruyne would be following in the footsteps of manager Guardiola, who last month signed a two-year contract extension at City lasting until 2023.
Arteta uses percentage statistics to defend Arsenal run
Arsenal boss Arteta didn’t appear to do himself any favours in the build-up to tonight’s contest with his former employers as he confused fans with a press conference rant regarding statistics…
“I don’t say that I don’t pay attention. I say that I don’t read. I do pay attention and I have to be aware and I am aware about what is happening,” he said.
“That’s part of my job. I don’t read. If I start to read all the comments whether they are positive or negative, they would drive me mad. My suggestion to every player is exactly the same.
“All the time it happens with this social media. You cannot control who is writing, what their intentions are. It’s a very dangerous thing to do. When you talk about the dressing room the atmosphere is good as it can be when we’re all hurting because everybody is worried.
“Everybody wants more and we’re working to get much more. In the dressing room when you’re losing football matches it’s difficult because they suffer, because they care and the confidence level starts to go through.
“The unity it’s there. Is it possible in any club to have 100 per cent even if you win. When you look at the perspective how we are losing football matches and how we are where we are it’s pretty incredible.
“Last year against Everton we won the game with 25 per cent chance of winning, supported by the stats. We won 3-2.
“Last weekend it was 67 per cent chance of winning any Premier League in history, and nine percent of losing – and you lose. you lose. 3 per cent against Burnley and you lose, 7 per cent against Spurs and you lose.
“There is something else apart from that that has to go our way and at the moment it doesn’t. Saying that it doesn’t care because you lose and the only thing that cares and you lose the match and that’s why we’re here.”
Man City predicted lineup
Meanwhile, here’s how we predict Guardiola will line-up for tonight’s visit to north London…
Predicted Manchester City XI (4-2-3-1): Steffen; Cancelo, Stones, Ake, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez, Foden, Torres; Aguero
Arsenal predicted lineup
Here’s how Standard Sport sees the Gunners shaping up for tonight’s quarter-final…
Predicted Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Leno; Mustafi, Gabriel, Luiz; Bellerin, Ceballos, Elneny, Kolasinac; Willock, Lacazette, Saka
Man City team news
For Man City, they also have striker woes with both Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero doubts ahead of the game.
Ferran Torres should feature, while Phil Foden will be pushing for a start.
Arsenal team news
Arsenal have Gabriel back after suspension but will be without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to a calf issue.
Mikel Arteta will be tempted to shuffle his pack, but Gabriel Martinelli will likely remain on the bench after his first minutes in nine months at the weekend.
Head to head history and results
- Arsenal wins: 98
- Draws: 45
- Man City wins: 58
Standard Sport prediction: Arsenal 0-2 Man City
No matter the team Pep Guardiola chooses, it is good enough to beat Arsenal even without their opponents’ confidence being at an all-time low. Expect City to stroll into the semi-final.