WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) is tasked with the big Sunday showdown between Arsenal and Manchester City. The Gunners are floundering and the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Arsene Wenger are both up for discussion so can City take advantage?
Arsenal v Manchester City | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
Arsenal are in their worst league form for 21 years, losing four of their last five games. That does include defeats at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, which isn’t completely embarrassing, but the losses to Watford and West Brom, are unforgivable.
We’ve seen some terrible defending from the Gunners of late but the fact they were also arguably outplayed by those bottom-half sides is worrying.
Combine all that with the growing perception that Arsene Wenger is going to sign a new contract, thus the consequential torrid atmosphere at the Emirates, and you’d have to say that Arsenal are facing an uphill struggle before this match has even kicked-off.
You might have heard it bandied about that City have only won one of their last 18 Premier League away games against Arsenal but that’s been woefully manipulated. Prior to 2008, Manchester City were not a force in English football without Sheikh Mansour’s investment so it’s a wholly unfair comparison.
You can also flip that stat completely on it’s head; the Citizens have only lost two of their last eight competitive visits to the Emirates since 2010, posting a W2-D4-L2 record. They’ve also scored six goals in their last four there.
Sure, Arsenal are good at home but the notion that they’ll win this game simply because they are the hosts doesn’t fly with me off the back of such terrible recent form.
City have won 10 out of 14 away Premier League games this season, scoring 30 goals on the road; six more than they’ve mustered at home. Additionally, they have actually picked up more points on their travels than they have at the Etihad.
Unfortunately, Kevin de Bruyne is an injury doubt and Sergio Aguero made the long trip home to Argentina to face Chile last week but he was dropped for the game in Bolivia, which will have saved a tonne of the energy that he would have expended at that altitude.
Alexis Sanchez also made the long trip to South America for international duty and has also been the discussion point of a move to Chelsea. He indicated that he may be interested in a midweek interview and is also stalling on a contract extension. I doubt these talking points will do his mentality any good.
Goals are usually to be expected between these two, six of the last eight meetings have gone Over 2.5 but I’m not confident of that this weekend. Instead, I’m siding with Manchester City +0 on the Asian Handicap at 5/7 with BetVictor. The same as a wager on the ‘Draw No Bet' market, just better value.
City are playing far superior football in my opinion and although they have their defensive issues too, they aren’t as delimiting as the Gunners’. No bigger prices catch my attention.
Taste defeat here and Arsenal can pretty much wave goodbye to a top-four finish and Spurs will almost certainly finish above them. All hell will break loose and, in my opinion, Wenger has to leave if he can’t even provide the fans with those two consistent ‘achievements’.
Arsenal v Manchester City – Manchester City +0 Asian Handicap (5/7 BetVictor)