The international break will come to a grinding halt when two of the Premier League’s heavyweight title contenders face off in the lunch time kick-off at the Emirates Stadium this Saturday.
Arsenal welcome Manchester City to north London with their 3-0 Community Shield victory still fresh in the memory from August.
Despite this, Champions City enter the fixture as slight favourites with the bookies, available at a 6/4 price with most outlets. Arsenal aren’t far behind, weighing in at 7/4.
City opened up the campaign by impressively dispatching of Newcastle and Liverpool before a surprising home defeat to industrious and counter-attacking Stoke.
Arsenal on the other hand are unbeaten thus far, although two of their three game ended in laboured draws away to Everton and newly promoted Leicester.
The spotlight is sure to fall on new Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck following his £16m deadline-day move from fierce rivals Manchester United.
After his heroics in Switzerland Monday night, Welbeck is 6/1 to score first on his expected Arsenal debut, coming in as third favourite behind City’s Sergio Aguero (4/1) and Edin Dzeko (9/2).
If the former Red Devil’s man is given the opportunity to flourish in a central role as expected, Welbeck is bound to enjoy a wealth of service with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla for offensive cavalry.
After twisting his ankle on international duty for Wales, key man Aaron Ramsey is considered a doubt for the titanic clash, though Ramsey attempted to allay fears saying: “I’ll be alright. I rolled my ankle a bit. Hopefully I’ll be ready for Saturday. I’m looking forward to it.”
Manuel Pelligrini’s men have doubts over Pablo Zabaleta and early-season form man Stevan Jovetic.
Zabaleta’s absence paves the way for ex-Gunner Bacary Sagna to start against the side he left after seven seasons of service this summer.
The French full-back’s debut didn’t go according to plan as Stoke emerged from the Etihad with a 1-0 victory, and after adding to a long line of perceived money motivated exits from Arsenal to City, he is sure to be in for a tasty reception upon his return.
Former stars Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri are also staking a claim for a starting berth to add to the intriguing Sagna sub-plot. Will there be any Adebayor-esque antics?!
Manchester City have only lost once away to the Gunners in their last five visits, which was a narrow 1-0 defeat thanks to a Mikel Arteta strike. There have also been two 0-0’s during that period, and City have only conceded twice.
The new look Gunners front-line however will be in confident mood to deal one of their title rivals an early season blow and indeed provide the firepower they lacked last year against the top four.