Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Prediction: Manchester City vs Arsenal

Verdict: Arsenal to score anytime

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: Bet365

With the Premier League making its return to action from behind closed doors this week, soon to be former champions Manchester City will host Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Manchester City

Starting with the hosts, last seen back in March when watching the Red Devils pick up local bragging rights thanks to a 2-0 win at Old Trafford, Manchester City are simply looking to try and end their domestic campaign on a high. All but handing over their Premier League crown to champions-elect Liverpool, Pep Guardiola’s men have all but fully turned their attention to Champions League success. Although the former Barcelona boss might have seen his side continue to show some worrying inconsistencies at the back prior to the enforced break, the Sky Blues have undoubtedly saved their best performances for home soil this season. Including landing a 3-1 win against top-four chasers Leicester over the festive period, Wednesday’s hosts have lost just a sole Premier League contest at the Etihad in their last nine appearances, a run that stems back to October 6th. If City are to mark their return to action with three points in midweek, then Guardiola will be hoping for Sergio Aguero to end his baron top-flight run prior to the break. The 32-year-old had previously failed to find the net in his last four Premier League matches on the bounce, his worst run of 2020.

Team News

After missing almost a year of action due to a knee injury, German winger Leroy Sane is expected to line up among City’s substitutes after featuring in a behind closed doors friendly.

Pep Guardiola will also be glad to hear that defensive talisman Aymeric Laporte has recovered from his own injury issue during the enforced break and will line-up at the heart of City’s defence.

Arsenal

As for the visitors, while Arsenal may not have been at their best against relegation scrappers West Ham prior to the break, the Gunners did pick up a 1-0 win and make their return still flirting with a late European charge. With Mikel Arteta receiving a string of praises since swapping Manchester for North London, they had won five of their last six matchups across all competitions before the interruption. However, crashing out of the Europa League in what was heartbreaking fashion against Greek outfit Olympiacos back in February, Arsenal also open their trip to the Etihad sat three points adrift of breaking back into the top-six. If the Gunners are to pick up what would be a shock victory on their return to action in midweek, then Arteta will be calling on leading marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lead their charge. While his future in North Lonon might still remain unclear, the former Borussia Dortmund star has enjoyed another stellar campaign in the capital. Bagging three goals in as many Premier League appearances prior to the break, the Gabon international only sits behind Jamie Vardy in the overall charts.

Team News

Mikel Arteta has confirmed that both full-backs Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney will be available for selection in midweek.

However, the Gunners will once again be without both Callum Chambers and Lucas Torreira who has resumed training after suffering a fractured ankle earlier in the year.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Including a 3-0 win when the two sides faced off earlier in the season, Manchester City have won their last six matchups against the Gunners.
  • Arsenal have drawn each of their last five Premier League matches away from the Emirates.
  • Wednesday’s hosts have recorded just two Premier League clean sheets on home soil in their last eight appearances.
  • Manchester City have already shipped 31 goals this season, eight more than they conceded in the whole of the 2018/2019 campaign.
  • Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 17 Premier League goals this season, including three in as many appearances prior to the break.

Conclusion

While Manchester City might mark their return as a clear favourite with the bookmakers, Arsenal might be smelling an upset against what has shown to be a fragile Sky Blues defence. With Pep Guardiola’s men managing to record just a pair of Premier League clean sheets at the Etihad in their previous eight attempts, Gunners marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be relishing a return to action on Wednesday night. Finding the net in each of their last eight trips to Manchester, we’re backing Arsenal to breach City’s defence once again in midweek.

Verdict: Arsenal to score anytime

Best Odds: 8/15

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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