Thursday, October 22, 2020

Prediction: Manchester City vs Arsenal

Verdict: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

Desperate to find some much-needed stability this weekend, Manchester City will welcome Arsenal to the Etihad on Saturday evening.

Manchester City

Starting with the hosts, eventually having to settle for a point against Premier League returners Leeds prior to the international break in what was a thrilling 1-1 draw at Elland Road, Manchester City have really struggled to find their feet since opening the 2020/2021 campaign. While Pep Guardiola’s men might have marked their return to domestic duties with a 3-1 victory away at Wolves, that was the Sky Blues’ only win from their opening three appearances. With some in their squad likely to have still been feeling the effects of their famous 5-2 drumming at the hands of Leicester on home soil earlier in the month, the former Barcelona boss will be desperate for his side to make some rather drastic alterations at the back. Failing to record a clean sheet away against Leeds last time out, Saturday’s hosts have also now failed to win consecutive Premier League games for the first time since December 2018.

Team News

Raheem Sterling is expected to be fit for Manchester City despite withdrawing from the England squad because of a hamstring injury.

Kevin De Bruyne missed Belgium’s game in midweek and must be considered a doubt for Saturday.

Arsenal

As for the visitors, while a 3-1 defeat away at defending champions Liverpool last month might have brought an end to Arsenal’s 100% start to the new campaign, the Gunners have bounced back in impressive fashion. Gaining some Anfield revenge as they came past the Reds on EFL Cup duties, Mikel Arteta’s side were also last seen heading into the international break landing a 2-1 win against a struggling Sheffield United in North London. With it no secret that Guardiola’s former right-hand man has his sights set on guiding Arsenal back to the Champions League this season, they have won five of their six competitive matchups this year. Already lifting both the FA Cup and the Community Shield at Wembley over the summer, Saturday’s guests could be smelling a real chance to pick up a heavyweight scalp this weekend. While they might hold what is a concerning record at the Etihad, the Gunners did land a shock 2-0 win when they last faced off against City in the FA Cup semi-finals back in July.

Team News

After making a deadline day move from Atletico Madrid, midfielder Thomas Partey could make his debut.

Kieran Tierney has been self-isolating after Scotland team-mate Stuart Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19 but he has yet to be ruled out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off in the FA Cup semi-finals back in July, Arsenal picked up a 2-0 win at Wembley.
  • However, the Gunners have lost each of their last four straight trips to the Etihad.
  • Manchester City now failed to win consecutive Premier League games for the first time since December 2018.
  • Continuing on from last season, Arsenal have lost three of their last four Premier League matchups on the road.
  • Four of the last five meetings between the two sides at the Etihad have finished with both teams finding the net.

Conclusion

On paper, Saturday’s matchup at the Etihad should be another entertaining affair for the neutral. Managing to collect just a single point away at Elland Road prior to the international break, Manchester City have a real reputation for their continued issues at the back. Yet to record a Premier League clean sheet this season, Mikel Arteta could be smelling the chance to get one over on his former mentor this weekend. With four of the last five meetings between the two sides at the Etihad seeing both teams find the net by the final whistle, we’re backing a similar outcome as the top-flight makes its return.

Verdict: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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