Football fans will be preoccupied with the return of the Champions League this midweek, but there are some English matches also on the schedule, including a huge game from London. Premier League leaders Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City on Wednesday from 19:30 GMT. The hotly anticipated match – re-arranged from last year – will be played before a capacity crowd at the Emirates Stadium, with millions more armchair fans following the coverage on television and live streaming apps. Are you ready to enjoy the show and make your predictions on the winner?
The Gunners have been impressive this season, silencing their critics with a stunning run of form that led them to pole position in the EPL early. They have been able to hold onto the top spot, but a recent dip in form has allowed the likes of Man City and Man Utd back into the title race. A top-four finish and place in next season’s Champions League is the least fans expect, but Mikel Arteta’s team has a real chance of going all the way and becoming champions. It has been a long time coming, but if Arsenal beats Man City, it will signal a critical powershift in English football.
Wednesday’s game will be the second time these sides have met this season after the Cityzens claimed an impressive 1-0 win over the Gunners in the FA Cup earlier this year. The champions also enjoy a long unbeaten run against the leaders, with Arsenal last beating Man City back in the summer of 2020. That’s a run of six defeats on the bounce for the Londoners, but they are in better shape now than we’ve seen them in years. Will they claim revenge and take a step closer to the title, or can Man City blow the race open?
Gunners firing blanks
It’s almost imposible not to be impressed by the great work done by Arsenal so far this season. They are top of the league and have lost just twice all season, once to Man Utd at Old Trafford and again to Everton in Sean Dyche’s first match. The pace-setters have been consistent, keeping things tight in defence while creating chances and scoring some eye-catching goals. It would come as no shock to see the Londoners go on to lift the trophy and cap a historic campaign. But they haven’t achieved anything yet. Boss Mikel Arteta must remind his players of that fact.
Despite their impressive form and lofty standing in the division, Arsenal haven’t been at their best in recent times. They prepare for this match with just two wins in their last five outings, drawing two and losing the spare. One point collected from the six available this month isn’t what you’d expect from a champion in-waiting and what happens next could shape the EPL finish. Is this wobble nothing more than a reminder than the players must continue to work hard and keep winning if they are to get their hands on the league trophy. Perhaps we’re seeing the Gunners falling apart and their challenge is about to unravel.
Only time will tell if Arsenal has what it takes to hang in there and win the league, but their fate is in their hands and fans can’t ask any more than that. It has been too long since the club found themselves in this position and if they come apart at this stage, it could wreck all confidence in the ranks. There’s more at stake than the Premier League title. How Arsenal performs between now and the finish line could shape team for many years. Supporters can only hope it all falls into place for their beloved Gunners.
Man City are back in the mix
This season is unlike any we’ve seen from Man City over the last five years or so. The champions have been challenged by Liverpool in recent times, but have usually been fighting from the front, fending off the challenge of the Reds. This year Pep’s boys are playing catch-up, meaning the pressure is on to close the gap on the leaders. One wrong move could hand the advantage to Arsenal, but one win can change the whole dynamic of the division. We’re in for a nail-biting last few months.
Man City travel to London for this match with their recent form slightly better than the leaders. They have taken nine points from 15 while Arsenal have collected eight. Victory last weekend moved the defending champions to within three points of the summit. Back-to-back victories would move them level and pile pressure on Arsenal. Like their opponents, Man City are in control of their fate. If they win each of their remaining league games, they’ll defend the title. It’s as simple as that. Easier said than done, of course, but writing off Guardiola and co is a dangerous tactic.
We last saw the visitors in action when they beat Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium. That was a fixture they should be winning, but the team deserves credit for digging out a result under difficult circumstances with the pressure on them. It was a strong showing and reminder just how dangerous this City team is when they are firing on all cylinders. If they can build and improve on that effort, they have a real chance of winning this match and going top of the league.
Arsenal v Man City prediction
We can’t wait to watch this match and it will overshadow what’s going on in the Champions League. This isn’t a shoot-out for the EPL title, but the result of this game will tell us a lot about what’s ahead. The home advantage benefits Arsenal but Man City’s experience could be the defining factor. The head-to-head stats is another factor to consider and gives confidence to the visitors.
Premier League odds
22bet members can back Arsenal at 2.89 with Man City 2.385 and the draw 3.46. There are more than 100 additional pre-game betting markets available.
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