A blockbuster Premier League clash between top-of-the-table Arsenal and Manchester City will take place this midweek at Emirates Stadium in London. The Gunners will be looking to re-open an eight-point lead at the summit which has been cut to three following their 1-1 draw with Brentford last weekend, while City will be hoping for another step up in form and a move closer to the title.
1. Pep Guardiola’s Side are Favourites
After a huge win against Manchester United on Friday, the Gunners have gone eight points clear at the top of the table. They are now the most likely team to win the league this season, and the Opta supercomputer has them as favourites to take the title.
Man City have won six of their last seven Premier League matches against Arsenal, including a 5-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in December 2015. In fact, they have won as many away games against the Gunners as any other side in the history of the competition.
That has seen them lead the way at the top of the table for a record-breaking 12 consecutive league matches. They have also won their last three home matches against the Gunners and are rated as 33% favourites to win this match by FiveThirtyEight, with a draw ranked at 24%.
However, Guardiola has warned his side that there is still a mental barrier to overcome in this fixture. He has won his past five league meetings against the Gunners and, in those wins, he has used a mixture of tactics to get the best out of his players.
While Guardiola has tried to implement a 4-3-3 formation in the past few matches, it is clear that he still prefers a 4-1-4-1. That is because he wants to use Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish as wide-area control in midfield.
These two are incredibly versatile, and can play on either side of the pitch as required. They are both able to get up high and dribble, as well as make dangerous crossfield passes.
They are also able to link up with each other quickly and effectively. That is something that is vital for them when facing teams such as City, who have a reputation for being very quick and counter-attacking.
If they can adapt to this, it will be a massive boost for the Gunners, and it will help them to go through to the next round of the Champions League with ease.
Despite being a resounding defeat at Manchester United, City’s form continues to improve. They have won four of their past five matches and will be confident that they can continue to push for the top spot in the league. It is just a shame that they have yet to break their jinx against the Gunners, and that could be the difference between them winning the league and losing it.
2. The Gunners have Won Their Last Six Away Games Against City
After losing 1-0 at Everton last weekend, Arsenal are seeking to bounce back against City on Wednesday. A victory would see the Gunners move six points clear at the top, but a draw or loss could also make a big difference to Pep Guardiola’s side.
Man City sit three points behind the Gunners with a game in hand and will be keen to make up ground on their rivals when they travel to the Emirates. The Citizens are unbeaten in their last 12 away games against the Gunners, winning six and drawing five. Their most recent victory came on New Year’s Day 2022, when goals from Riyad Mahrez and Rodri secured a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.
It’s a fact of life that top teams will drop points from time to time, and that was the case for Liverpool in the 1980s, Manchester United in the 90s and 00s and Chelsea at the start of this decade. But that doesn’t mean it’s a sign of weakness for the opposition.
During their recent run of form, the Gunners have played well against teams with strong defences and have won nine of their ten home matches against top-six sides. However, their performance against Everton last weekend suggests that they can’t yet rely on their own defensive strength when they face teams who have been scoring goals at a prolific rate.
But the Gunners are still capable of a good result in this match, with their pacy attack likely to cause problems for the City defence. The Citizens have not managed to keep a clean sheet away from home in the league this season, despite their high defensive line, and should be wary of Arsenal’s attacking threat.
As always, a defeat to Man City will be a huge blow for the Gunners and their fans. This could be the biggest game of the season so far for the north London club.
It’s also a chance to notch their first away win against City since a 2-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium in December 2015, with Arteta’s side coming from behind to secure the win.
3. The Gunners Have Won Their Last Three Home Games Against City
Arsenal are three points clear at the top of the Premier League and this midweek clash with Manchester City is set to be a huge title decider. The Gunners have a chance to stretch their lead to six points with a win, while Man City will be looking to claim the league title for the first time in eight years after winning it last season.
Despite leading the Premier League for much of this campaign, the Gunners have dropped points in two of their last three games, losing 1-0 away to Everton and drawing 1-1 at home to Brentford. Whether Arsenal can keep up their pace in the race for the title remains to be seen, but it is a big step forward from their disappointing finish last season and it is a team that is built to challenge for the Premier League crown in the long run under manager Mikel Arteta.
The biggest concern for Arteta is how to deal with City, who have dominated the league this term. They are unbeaten in their last seven league matches against Arsenal, including a 5-0 drubbing in January and a 2-0 win at the Emirates last month.
It’s also worth mentioning that City’s bench strength is incredible – Guardiola can call upon Riyad Mahrez, Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish in attack, and Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Kalvin Phillips and Cole Palmer in midfield.
But what really separates the two sides is their ability to adapt. City have a great record against teams who don’t play the same style as them, as demonstrated by their defeat of Chelsea and their draw with Liverpool this season.
They have a good record at home against their rivals too, as evidenced by their victory over Man United in January and their 2-2 draw with Tottenham last week. The Gunners haven’t lost a home league game against the champions since December, although they have failed to score in each of their last five visits to the Emirates.
With City having a shaky back four and a weakened squad, the Gunners will need to make sure they don’t lose their edge on the ball. Their slick passing style has helped them get the best out of their midfield players and they will need to ensure they don’t make too many mistakes when it comes to dealing with opponents.
4. The Gunners Have Won Their Last Four Home Games Against Man City
If there is one midweek match that will be a crucial one in the race for the Premier League title, it is Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side have been top of the table for most of the season but have lost their last two games and are just three points behind leaders Arsenal.
While Arsenal are still in with a chance of winning the league, it will not be easy for them to do so. They have only won eight of their 22 league matches this term, and have drawn three of them. They are also struggling to score goals this season, having scored just four in their last five games and have failed to score at home for the first time since December 2018.
The Gunners will be without long-term absentees Gabriel Jesus, Mohamed Elneny and Reiss Nelson, while new signing Leandro Trossard could make his debut against City. However, manager Mikel Arteta is likely to name the same side that defeated Aston Villa 3-2 in the FA Cup last week.
City are a very similar side to Arsenal and will be looking to exploit space down the flanks when they attack. They will also be looking to keep their opponents off the ball and get in behind them, especially on the counter-attack.
It has been over six years since City last faced the Gunners and it was a remarkable victory for Guardiola’s side, who won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. The win was City’s biggest in the league at that point and helped them take a stranglehold on the title race.
The result was a huge turning point in the City hierarchy and led to Guardiola gaining the confidence he needed to take over from then boss Manuel Pellegrini. He has gone on to become one of the most successful managers in the Premier League and won the title twice.
Manchester City are the favourites to win this midweek match, but it is the Gunners who are looking to make a major statement of their own. It is a clash that will be seen by more than 6 million people, and will live long in the memory.