The North London side travel to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League having stumbled over recent weeks in the race for the title. They let 2-0 leads slip against both Liverpool and West Ham recently, whilst they only just managed to scramble together a draw against bottom-of-the-table Southampton after being 3-1 down.
That has left Arsenal five points clear at the top of the table having played two games more than Pep Guardiola’s men. Defeat to City would see them relinquish their advantage for the crown with only a handful of games left to go.
Former Arsenal man Merson is under no illusions as to the importance of the game. Making his predictions, he is expecting a stalemate at the Etihad Stadium due to City’s distractions elsewhere.
Writing for SportsKeeda, he said: “This is a game that Arsenal cannot lose. If they lose, it's all over, and Manchester City can even afford a slip-up.
“There's still a lot of football to be played, but Man City are on a roll. They do have to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, however, and if they lose over two legs, it could knock their confidence.
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“Arsenal have gone and tried to win every match this season, but you can't go to Man City and play gung-ho football. The season might catch up with City, and Pep Guardiola has already said that they're tired. When he starts saying it, the players start believing it.
“If this game ends in a draw, Manchester City will have to win both their games in hand to take the lead. It's a bit like when you're 5-3 down in tennis, and you need to hold your serve and make sure you don't break. Man City have been outstanding, but people do get nervous and the pressure can get to them.
“Arsenal get too confident at times, and they should have steamrolled West Ham and Southampton. You can't drop points like that when you're playing for a league title. They do have the players to hurt Manchester City, however, and I think they can get a result here.”
Following their trip to Manchester, Arsenal’s fixture list does not get any kinder as they continue their pursuit of a first Premier League title for nearly 20 years. They host Chelsea next week ahead of a trip to Newcastle, whilst a home clash with Brighton also looks set to cause a few headaches.
In the meantime, Man City’s upcoming fixture list is slightly less testing but they also have their Champions League semi-final showdown with Real Madrid and the FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City to consider.