The world’s most popular league, the Premier League in England gets back underway on Wednesday with Manchester City hosting visitors Arsenal in what should be a cracking game at the Etihad Stadium.
The match pitches Pep Guardiola against his former understudy at City, Mikel Arteta, with the latter taking over from Unai Emery earlier in the campaign.
For Manchester City, they will have to win if they are to have any hope of catching runaway leaders Liverpool although their title challenge is very much running on petrol fumes at the moment and the home side can’t afford to drop any more points in the race although they need something of a miracle to catch Jurgen Klopp’s red machine.
Arsenal on the other hand will be hoping to take the points back to London in a hope of galvanising their hopes of Champions League qualification next term and the Londoners currently languish in ninth place following a disappointing campaign athough having steadied the ship since coming into the dug-out Arteta’s men are now only five points off a Champions League spot next season.
INCONSISTENT CITY LOOK TO HOME RECORD
Pep Guardiola’s side has had a disappointing campaign by their standards and their season has been blighted by inconsistency. They lost 2-0 away to city rivals Manchester United on their last start prior to the shutdown and have a 12 point gap to bridge if they are to catch Liverpool which seems unlikely.
Matches against the top six teams has been their achilles heel this season and they’ve won only three of eight meetings thus far against teams in the top spots of the division. That said, their home form has been strong with nine wins from 13 matches and they’ve scored an average of almost 2.5 goal per game in their 28 league matches to date.
City have lost only one of their last six home matches, suffering a 2-1 reversal against Manchester United back in December. But they have won four of their five subsequent home games with their latest seeing them run out 2-0 victors over West Ham.
Indeed their once-imperious defense hasn’t looked the same strength this term following the loss to injury of defensive lynchpin Aymeric Laporte, leading to a dismal return of only three clean sheets in their last ten matches.
ARSENAL STRUGGLING AT BOTH ENDS OF THE PITCH
The Gunners are certainly playing with a bit more purpose now Mikel Arteta has managed to restore a degree of stability, but the Londoners remain vulnerable at both ends of the pitch despite being in much better form on the lead-up to the lockdown.
Arsenal had won their last three Premier League matches to cap an unbeaten eight-game streak stretching back to the start of 2020. With four wins and four draws, they managed to shut out the opposition on four occasions including when beating West Ham for their last win immediately prior to the lockdown.
That recent record will be put to the test on Wednesday night against one of the most potent attacking forces in the league; but Arsenal are finding it difficult to find the back of the net and the Gunners have only managed 40 goals this term from their 28 matches while the defense has conceded five more than City’s rearguard.
They have drawn their last five away matches, scoring only four goals in that period and conceding the same; while Man City have scored eleven home goals in the same spell with only four goals conceded.
EXPECT AN ILL-TEMPERED MATCH
Both teams have a poor discipline record coming into this contest with Manchester City having collected 51 yellow and three red cards during the season; while Arsenal are the most ill-disciplined side with 63 yellow cards and three red cards so there could be some fireworks in this match and over 4.5 cards could be a decent play in the match.
Arsenal went into the lockdown in much better form and if they can continue in similar vein then they should give Manchester City a game. However the home side have been strong at home and are scoring with some regularity; Arsenal’s fragile defense will be put to the test against Aguero and company and will surely struggle to prevent the home side from adding to their goal haul.
Manchester City have the best of this fixture and have won their last three home matches against the Gunners as well as beating the Londoners on their last three matches away from home. Arsenal have only beaten City three times in the last twenty matches and that poor run looks set to continue on Wednesday night.
Bet 1: Manchester City to win, over 3 match goals, over 4 cards in the match @ +375 (Bet365)
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