With Leicester City extending their dream start by defeating Everton at Goodison Park, Arsenal and Manchester City will be under extra pressure when they square off on Monday evening at the Emirates, hoping to keep their title bid on track and at the same time gain psychological advantage over their rivals.
Many believe that Arsenal have a historic opportunity to end the long wait for the Premier League trophy this season since none of their title rivals have looked too impressive in the first part of the season. The Gunners did really well to keep the results respectable during the serious injury crisis and things should be much easier for them when some key men start returning to the side. The likes of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey have already returned, while Alexis Sanchez should be back soon, although it looks as though the Manchester City game may come too soon for the Chilean. Nevertheless, with Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud on top of their game at the moment and the back line finally looking like the real deal, we agree with online bookmakers who have made Arsenal favourites to win the high-profile clash. The Gunners appear to be playing with a great deal of confidence at the moment, with comprehensive wins over Olympiakos and Aston Villa backing our claim.
Alexis Sanchez and Mikel Arteta face the race against time to make the Manchester City clash, but neither is expected to start on Monday.
Meanwhile, the likes of Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere are definitely out through injury.
As soon as it became clear that Chelsea would not be able to defend the Premier League title, heavily reinforced Manchester City emerged as strong favourites for the coveted trophy, but Manuel Pellegrini’s charges have utterly failed to live up to the billing. In all fairness, injuries to key players did take the wind out of their sails, but with so much money invested into the squad over the last few years, that cannot be considered an excuse. It is the prolonged absence of captain Vincent Kompany that proved to biggest problem as Nicolas Otamendi experienced plenty of difficulties in adapting to the Premier League and calamitous Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala did nothing to prove they have what it takes to compete at this level. The Citizens did raise their home form of late, winning last four matches at the Etihad, but having failed to register a single goal in last three away fixtures, they clearly face an uphill task at the Emirates.
Manuel Pellegrini is expected to welcome back Sergio Aguero to the starting line-up as he recovered from a heel injury.
However, captain Vincent Kompany remains on the sidelines, with Samir Nasri, Fernando and Pablo Zabaleta joining him in the infirmary.
Key Factors to Consider
- Arsenal boast the best defensive record in the Premier League (13 goals conceded)
- The Gunners won five of last six home games on all fronts
- Arsenal have been averaging almost 2.5 goals in last six home fixtures
- Man City are winless in last four away games in the league
- The Citizens failed to score in last three matches on the road
Arsenal definitely go into the game in better spirits than the opposition and they are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, with Wenger having found a perfect balance in the side. Meanwhile, Manchester City continue to struggle without Vincent Kompany, and crocked Sergio Aguero is unlikely to prove enough to avoid a defeat at the Emirates.
Verdict: Arsenal Draw no bet
Best Odds: 13/20
Bookmaker: William Hill