Arsenal, Man City seeking fresh start in face-offArsenal and Manchester City meet at the Emirates on Saturday when both teams will seek to roar into life after making spluttering starts to their Premier League campaigns.
A month after demolishing City 3-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley, seventh-placed Arsenal has failed to reach the same high notes, drawing its last two league matches and losing French striker Olivier Giroud to injury.
While a shortage of strikers cannot be blamed for City’s inconsistent start, Manager Manuel Pellegrini said they lacked a creative spark when they slipped to a surprise 1-0 home defeat by Stoke City last time out.
In a bid to ease their attacking woes, Arsenal snapped up Danny Welbeck on the final day of the transfer window and the former Manchester United striker is confident his style of play will fit in perfectly at the Emirates.
“I’ve envisaged myself playing in this team before. For it to finally happen is very exciting,” said Welbeck, who scored both goals in England’s opening Euro 2016 qualifying campaign victory over Switzerland on Monday.
“At Arsenal, we’re not short of combination football and I like to join in on that and get in behind defenders and try to get shots off at goal. I want to score some goals and help the team to achieve the right results.”
Along with Giroud, midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has scored in two of Arsenal’s three Premier League games this season, could miss Saturday’s clash after twisting his ankle in Wales’ 2-1 win over Andorra on Tuesday.
Champion City, so potent in front of goal last season, head to north London having let Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo join Valencia, while in-form forward Stevan Jovetic, who scored two goals against Liverpool, is struggling with a hamstring injury.
“It will be difficult, but I’m an optimist,” said Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko.
Table-toppers Chelsea have suffered no problems in front of goal this season thanks largely to the efforts of Diego Costa, but the Spaniard could miss the encounter with second-placed Swansea City at Stamford Bridge because of a leg injury.
Costa, who has scored four goals in three appearances for Chelsea this season, pulled out of Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia on Monday with a hamstring injury and his absence would come as a blow to manager Jose Mourinho.
“He produced a fantastic performance in every aspect,” Mourinho said after Costa netted twice against Everton in Chelsea’s 6-3 victory at Goodison Park. “Diego is maybe the best player in the league in these first three matches.”
If Costa fails to recover in time, then French striker Loic Remy, who joined from local rival Queens Park Rangers (QPR), could make his Chelsea debut against a Swansea side that has looked well organized under inexperienced Manager Garry Monk.