Following the 6-3 trashing at the Etihad and more recent 6-0 loss to Chelsea, Arsenal are probably not relishing the prospect of facing title contenders Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. The Citizens, on the other hand, have seriously improved their title chances with four victories on the bounce and they arrive at the Emirates high on confidence.
Despite staying in the Premier League title chase up until recently, Arsenal have failed to prove they have what it takes to actually win the coveted title. And while the Gunners did pretty well against those smaller sides, their record against title rivals is simply pathetic. Heavy defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea will not be forgotten any time soon and rather than hoping for a win that would revive team’s title bid, Arsenal fans are probably wishing Arsene Wenger’s charges can avoid another embarrassing defeat in the Premiership. The 2-2 home draw with Swansea did nothing to improve the atmosphere in the squad and with their top 4 place also in danger now, the Gunners will be under great deal of pressure when they host high-flying Manchester City at the Emirates. There are no good news for Arsene Wenger on injury front seeing as how Aaron Ramsey, Jack, Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny are still unavailable, with the only positive being the fact that January signing Kim Kallstrom did show some promise on his debut in midweek.
Even if Chelsea had been seen as the number one candidates for the league trophy before the season started, Manchester City soon emerged as main contenders due to some impressive displays in the opening exchanges. The 1-0 home defeat to the Stamford Bridge outfit did prove costly, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side did brilliantly to return to the right track and currently sit three points behind their rivals, but with two games in hand. After winning the Capital One Cup title and crashing out of Champions League and FA Cup, the Citizens were able to fully focus on their Premiership campaign, which resulted in comfortable victories over Hull City, Fulham and local rivals Manchester United. The impressive manner of the triumph at Old Trafford should keep Manchester City in good stead for the clash against struggling Arsenal, with David Silva’s ankle injury the only worry at the moment. However, having spent full 90 minutes on the pitch in midweek, the Spaniard is expected to recover in time to face the Gunners, whilst Aleksandar Kolarov is likely to be recalled to the side. Sergio Aguero, Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic remain on the sidelines.
One just needs to look at Arsenal’s record against title contenders this season and they will know what to expect from the game at the Emirates. With the Gunner also missing quite a few first team regulars and Manchester City on top of their game at the moment, away triumph appears on the cards.
Verdict: Away win Manchester City (2)
Best Odds: 21/20