Arsenal host Manchester City in a top-of-the-table clash at Emirates Stadium on Sunday and will be desperate to pick up all three points and send a message to their rivals concerning their title intent.
However, Chris Sutton does not see the Gunners picking up any point against the Premier League champions, tipping Pep Guardiola’s side to narrowly edge them out and win 2-1.
Arsenal have suffered injuries and knocks to some of their key players recently, and the BBC pundit reckons that could affect their chances of getting any positive result against Man City.
“I worry for Arsenal if they are without Bukayo Saka, I really do,” the BBC Sport football expert said in his prediction column.
“This is a test of their mettle now. They are already without Gabriel Martinelli through injury, so will they carry enough of a threat against City if Saka is out as well? I am not sure.
“Arsenal will still be dangerous without Martinelli and Saka, but you would give them far more of a chance if they were coming into this game at full tilt.
“City’s squad is stretched too and their striker Erling Haaland is having something of a quiet spell with only one goal in his past four games, but I certainly wouldn’t write him off.
“Even if City don’t play that well, they are resilient and I can see them hitting Arsenal with a sucker-punch – yes they lost twice last week, but they won’t lose too many more games this season.”
The North Londoners are trailing Man City by just a point in the table after seven games, and they know a win will help boost their title chances.
It remains to be seen whether Saka will be available after he limped off for the third game running during the 2-1 defeat to RC Lens in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Manager Mikel Arteta cannot afford to be without such a player given his ability to make a difference, but being without the England international will not be an excuse if they fail to win.
Victory over Man City in the Community Shield earlier this campaign will give Arsenal much-needed belief and confidence ahead of the game, but they should expect a tougher test this time around from them.
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