Sunday 2nd April. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
Premier League football returns after the international break, and the opening week of April saves the best for last as Arsenal take on Manchester City in what is a massive game for both clubs.
The battle for Champions League football is fiercer than ever, and Sunday’s showdown at the Emirates could go a long way to sealing the fates of these respective competitors. There’s been plenty of drama off the pitch at the Emirates recently. For 90 minutes here, though, that entertainment will be produced on the right side of the white line.
It should be an absolute belter!
Pressure On For Wenger
Whether rumours of a two-year contract extension are accurate or not, Arsene Wenger cannot deny that he is currently under more pressure than any other time in his 21 years in London. A run of four defeats in five signals his worst ever sequence, and sees the Gunners hanging onto their top four hopes by a thread.
The Gunners do have games in hand, but they’d rather have points in the bank, especially when they have such a difficult end to the season. Sunday’s visit of Manchester City would be hard enough without the added pressure, and is made increasingly difficulty by the absence of both Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla.
Arsenal are still blessed with quality all over the pitch and can take confidence from a 2-1 win in last season’s corresponding clash. Wenger has also masterminded a win over champions elect Chelsea this term, and can be optimistic of another big result at the Emirates against a City side that has, at times, looked very vulnerable themselves.
It’s a massive test for the hosts. But if they come through it unscathed, their top four aspirations may be back on the table.
Pep Aiming For Another Great Game Against Arsenal
Having previously enjoyed some great times against the Gunners at previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern, Pep Guardiola’s domestic battle against Wenger started with a 2-1 home win back in December. With two trips to the capital coming up this month, including an FA Cup semi-final in three weeks time, the Manchester City boss will be hoping for more of the same.
Like Arsenal, City’s recent form hasn’t been great. A cup win over Middlesbrough is their only victory in four competitive games and they have often shown signs of weakness this term – despite the fact they’ve won 10 of 14 away games in the league.
The Citizens are still without Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan. However, the quality of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero should give them confidence against the Gunners.
A win wouldn’t guarantee a top four finish for the visitors, but it would put them firmly in the driving seat to finish either second or third. Expect a cracking contest from start to finish.
Arsenal v Manchester City Betting
Despite being the visitors, Manchester City enter Sunday’s showdown as the 7/5 favourites while Arsenal are priced 2/1. Alternatively, the draw is available at 13/5.
Neither team has looked particularly solid in defence this term, and there’s a good chance that this will show at the Emirates.
Arsenal will need to attack as they look to end this bad run and should find the target at some stage. However, it’s hard to see City not scoring too. We expect both teams to score, with at least one of them grabbing two or more.
There are a number of key men and key battles taking place all over the pitch. One of the main ones, however, could be Sterling against Arsenal’s left-back.
That area of the pitch has been problematic for the hosts all season. And with Sterling looking like a player reborn under Guardiola, odds of 3/1 are very attractive for a goals at any stage.