They have made a very solid start to the season and they have a massively strong squad, we are away from home and are not on the best form, yet I still think we have a very decent chance of getting something from the game. I do not expect Mancini to change much tactically, I suspect City will play their normal three central midfielders (Toure/De Jong/Barry), have Milner/Johnson and Silva on the flanks, with Tevez the lone striker.
I have been thinking about what kind of Arsenal eleven would best combat this City system. It is a great shame that Jack Wilshere is suspended. The battle I worry about is David Silva versus Gael Clichy, on current form there is only one winner, it is time for Clichy to pull a big performance out of the bag, otherwise Kieran Gibbs looks like getting a game sooner rather than later. It is vital that when the left footed player winger cuts in from the right wing that our defenders only show them one way, and that is not inside towards the goal, it is outside towards the wing.
The city back four and their whole eleven is physically strong and rather large on the whole, the way we will win the game is by out passing City, keeping the ball on the ground and playing incisively on the counter attack. If Walcott were fit he would start, so without Theo I suspect the fresh Arshavin will be handed a chance to impress on the left of the front three. Despite dividing opinion the nippy Russian has been pretty effective in the final third this season and he does tend to rise to the big occasion, it is time for him to start pulling some big performances out of the bag.
The midfield three will be Song/Diaby/Cesc, obviously the latter will be given much more of a license to roam forward, I think it particularly important that Diaby and Song play with a great deal of discipline tomorrow, they will need to effectively hoover things up in front of the back four if we are to have a chance of winning the game. The front three is likely to be Arshavin/Chamakh/Nasri. Arshavin and Nasri have the beating of the city full backs and they will both be key in unlocking the City defence, it is crucial that Chamakh is not left too isolated, the wide forwards must support him from the flanks and Cesc down the middle.
Maybe the most important test tomorrow will be of our defensive ability as an eleven. The opening goal in these big games is often crucial, conceding first can be an absolute disaster as it then allows the other side to sit back and kill you on the counter attack. The full backs have a lot to prove, as does the new centre back pairing of Djourou and Squillaci, it is also crucial that the midfield adequately support the back four so that no one is isolated against the City danger men. We must not throw too many men forward early on, we must be fairly cagey and force City to come out of their shell, then they will be more vulnerable. Come on you Gunners!