London: Both managers dismiss it, but Manchester City’s trip to Arsenal is being billed as a clash between the two teams most capable of lifting the Premier League title.
Leicester City’s 3-2 win at Everton guaranteed that they will top the table on Christmas Day, but amid doubts over their staying power and with other contenders floundering, Arsenal and City remain the favourites.
Leicester have a five-point lead over Arsenal, with City a point further back in third place, and the London club’s manager Arsene Wenger knows how important is it for his side to take points from their rivals.
“We have really established a good run so for us it’s important to continue that. It is a massive game. When we play at home you want to win because we are ambitious and we feel we have the chance to come out in a strong position after Christmas,” he said. “Manchester City has huge individual potential with David Silva and Sergio Aguero coming back and so we will need a top, top-level team performance.”
Wenger, meanwhile, is hopeful that Alexis Sanchez will be fit to play after a hamstring injury, raising the appetising prospect that both teams will be at full strength in attack. They are both bereft elsewhere, however, with Arsenal missing midfielders Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky, as well as forward Danny Welbeck.