Ladies and gentlemen, judgement day is finally upon us as Arsenal take on Manchester City.
The biggest game of the Premier League season to date, the Gunners’ title credentials will be defined tonight, where Mikel Arteta’s side realistically need a win if they’re to go all the way come the end of the season.
Having drawn their last three and the likes of Williams Saliba and potentially Granit Xhaka out to face City, the annual Arsenal injury curse could not have hit the club at a worse possible time, with quality squad depth in key positions starting to cause issues.
For many fans, the league is all-but finished, with City showcasing the sort of form that has made the oil state-funded Premier League side the behemoth that they have become under Pep Guardiola, with plucky Arsenal simply unable to compete.
Yet despite the odds, the north London side still have a shot at the impossible, and here are three ways Arsenal could get those three magical points against City this evening.
Arsenal face Manchester City with a back-five
Any quick glance on Twitter or Arsenal forum heading into tonight and you’ll see one thing the majority of supporters are calling out for Arteta to do, revert to a back-five system.
It’s been some years since the Arsenal manager has used such a tactic, with the run to the 2020 FA Cup the period where the 3-4-3 was at its most effective. And Arteta could return to it tonight with desperation calling.
With four fit centre-backs to choose from and Kieran Tierney able to play right-wingback due to Scotland, the ingredients are there for Arsenal to make a somewhat solid backline against City, with Ben White able to also return his natural position.
Holding sticks to Haaland like glue
Starting a back-five is one thing, but Arsenal still have a challenge ahead of them in the form of keeping Erling Haaland quiet on a night where the City striker can break even more Premier League history.
However, despite scoring at the Emirates earlier in the season, Haaland has actually endured two difficult matches against Arsenal in terms of his overall play, with Rob Holding expertly marking the striker in the FA Cup clash in January before coming off for Saliba.
The 27-year-old might bring some worry to Arsenal supporters for tonight, but if Holding can keep his marker, play a composed fixture and dig deep to not make any silly errors, the defender could mark Haaland out of the match.
Trossard leads the line ahead of Jesus
Arsenal fans are so concerned about what the defence will look like that the debate over who should start in the attack has been drastically overlooked, with Leandro Trossard arguably best-suited to start ahead of Gabriel Jesus.
Whilst the Brazilian has been in incredible goalscoring form since returning from injury, Jesus’s skillset could arguably hinder Arsenal rather than benefit them at the Ethiad, with Trossard perfect to face off against a defence like City’s.
The Belgian has often been Arsenal’s most productive forward whenever he has been on the pitch alongside Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, and with Jesus and Eddie Nketiah as options on the bench, Arteta can effectively use the two forwards from the sideline as City’s defenders tire.