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Aguero, Sanchez in focus as City welcome Arsenal

South American hotshots Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez, two of the Premier League’s best forwards, are due to go up against one another when champions Manchester City face Arsenal in the Premier League at Eastlands on Sunday.

City may have splashed out a reported £28 million to sign striker Wilfried Bony from top-flight rivals Swansea this week, but the Ivory Coast front man is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty in Equatorial Guinea.

Last season’s corresponding fixture saw Aguero open the scoring in City’s 6-3 rout of Arsenal and the Argentina ace has been in impressive form again this term with 14 goals so far in the campaign.

However, Chile ace Sanchez has been scarcely less of a threat up front with 12 goals, including two in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Stoke last weekend.

As far as former Arsenal defender Martin Keown is concerned, Aguero still has the edge — but only just.

“It’s a close call because they are both top-quality players who have the ability to absolutely embarrass defenders with their pace and skill,” Keown told the Daily Mail.

“But I think I’d take Aguero over Sanchez. He is in the top three strikers we have ever seen in the Premier League and has been performing at incredible levels of consistency since he first arrived.

“It’s still early days for Sanchez, but he has certainly made a stunning start to his career at Arsenal.”

TOP FOUR

Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates his first goal against Stoke City in an EPL match at the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates his first goal against Stoke City in an EPL match at the Emirates Stadium

City could kick-off just two points behind leaders Chelsea if the Blues are beaten by Bony’s former club on Saturday while Arsenal could go into the top four if they get a favourable result and matches 24 hours earlier fall in their favour.

Sunday’s fixture will be Arsenal’s first since it was confirmed that both Mike Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy face three months each on the sidelines after surgery on ankle and shoulder injuries respectively.

Chelsea travel to south Wales on the back of a 2-0 win at home to Newcastle.

All season-long pundits have been waiting for Southampton’s bubble to burst and so far the south coast side, currently third in the table, have kept proving the doubters wrong.

Fresh from last week’s 1-0 win away to Manchester United — where Dusan Tadic’s goal secured the Saints first victory at Old Trafford since 1988 — and a midweek third-round FA Cup replay success against Ipswich, Ronald Koeman’s side travel to face a Newcastle side still without a permanent manager after Alan Pardew quit the north-east club for top-flight strugglers Crystal Palace.

“I suppose the first thing is the league, but it would be nice to get some silverware as well,” said striker Shane Long, who scored the only goal of the replay against Ipswich, with some Saints fans dreaming of repeating the the club’s 1976 FA Cup triumph.

At the bottom of the table, basement club Leicester are at home to Stoke. Elsewhere Pardew, fresh from guiding Palace to a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, will aim for another win away to Burnley — knocked out of the FA Cup by Spurs in midweek.

Fellow strugglers Hull will hope to encounter a West Ham side still tired on Sunday from their marathon shoot-out FA Cup win over Everton.

Fixtures – Saturday:

Aston Villa v Liverpool – 6pm

Burnley v Crystal Palace – 6pm

Leicester v Stoke – 6pm

Newcastle v Southampton 8:30pm

QPR v Man United – 6pm

Swansea v Chelsea – 6pm

Tottenham v Sunderland – 6pm

Sunday:

Man City v Arsenal – 7m

West Ham v Hull – 4:30pm

Monday:

Everton v West Brom – 11pm