Monday, February 18, 2019

Prediction: Manchester City vs Arsenal

Verdict: Manchester City win and both teams to score 

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

In desperate need of a responce after their shock 2-1 defeat away at St. James’ Park in midweek, Manchester United will welcome Arsenal to the Etihad on Sunday.

Manchester City

Starting with the hosts, while Manchester City might have slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Newcastle on Wednesday, the Sky Blues will be boosted by Liverpool dropping points against Leicester. With the chance to cut the gap to Jurgen Klopp’s side to just two points, the defending champions will be boosted by their recent record at the Etihad. Winning their last five matches in Manchester since their loss at home to Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola’s men have won 13 of the last 15 matches that they have hosted. If City are to close the gap on their title contenders, then the former Barcelona boss will be looking for leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero to lead their charge. Finding the net at St. James’ Park in midweek, the Argentinian international now has three goals in his last three appearances. With City in desperate need of a response, they will also be bosted by their recent record against the Gunners. Sunday’s hosts have now won their last four consecutive league meetings against Arsenal, including a 2-0 win earlier in the season.

Team News

Manchester City will monitor Benjamin Mendy, who has missed the last two games after suffering a swollen knee on his comeback from injury.

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus are options if City opt for changes after defeat in midweek.

Arsenal

As for the visitors, climbing back into the top-four and announcing the arrival of Denis Suarez on Deadline Day, on paper, it appears the mood in Arsenal’s camp should be on a high. However, while the Gunners may have picked up a hard-fought victory over Cardiff in midweek, it has been a start to the New Year riddled with inconsistencies. Putting in arguably their worst display in their 1-0 loss away at West Ham a fortnight ago, Unai Emery’s side have now remarkably failed to win any of their last five top-flight matches on the road, including a 5-1 hammering away at Anfield last month. The former PSG boss will also know that he must find a way to plug an increasingly leaky defence. The Gunners have recorded just one clean sheet against their last 10 teams from the Premier League. Although Arsenal’s problems at the back might be glaringly obvious, they do have one man who is enjoying a very impressive campaign in the final third. Extending his tally to 18 goals this season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang now has six goals in his last eight appearances.

Team News

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny is back in full training after a jaw injury and could feature.

Loan signing Denis Suarez is available for his debut, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s knee problem will be assessed.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester City can win a fourth consecutive top-flight game against the Gunners, a feat they last managed between 1935 and 1937.
  • Arsenal have lost the last four meetings in all competitions, conceding 11 goals and scoring just one.
  • City have won their previous five home games in league and cup, and have scored 24 unanswered goals in their last four matches at the Etihad Stadium.
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in seven of his last 11 matches against Arsenal in all competitions, although he has not found the net in the last two meetings.
  • The Gunners are the only side yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet away from home this season.

Conclusion

Although Manchester City may have publically slipped up last week, Pep Guardiola’s side should be extremely confident of refinding their momentum. Even though the defending champions have recorded just one clean sheet at the Etihad in their last seven league matches, it is hard to see them failing to pile the pressure on Arsenal’s defensive issues. Given the Gunners’ woeful record away from North London, we’re backing City to come away with the victory in a lively encounter.

Verdict: Manchester City win and both teams to score 

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

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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