ARSENAL host Man City in Tuesday night's EFL Cup quarter-final contest. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his betting thoughts.
Arsenal vs Manchester City | Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
It seems like an age since the last round of the League Cup, yet we’re already at the quarter-final stage of the competition. Arguably the most eye-catching of the quartet is the meeting between old mates Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola meet at The Emirates on Tuesday night.
It’s fair to say a few are coming to the realisation of Arteta’s difficulties this season, the Gunners have looked bereft of any kind of attacking threat, leadership, invention or idea for a while now. Some will point to the fact that this sides’ performances have been below what is expected since Arsene Wenger departed the club.
Under Unai Emery they had attacking verve but were too open and shipped far too many goals, Arteta came in with a focus on solidifying the porous back line and he has done to some extent. They’re allowing fewer shots in the box this season for example, but it’s come at the detriment of their attacking output.
Only four sides are averaging fewer shots in the box this season than the North London club whilst their Expected Goals (xG) output is at a measly 1.06 per game. Worrying.
One respite Arteta seems to be surviving on is his cup record. Arsenal actually got the better of City en route to winning the FA Cup last season and they’ve been comfortable in the Europa League so far, albeit against a weak level of opposition. If they fail to collect a trophy and finish in the bottom half (which I think is more likely than not), then questions do have to be asked about this group.
City always seem to reach the business end of these competitions and have incredibly won this trophy three years in a row. Pep has a big enough squad to be able to negotiate plenty of tournaments, but even he is coming under a bit of scrutiny this season with the lack of attacking edge to their play. He certainly identified being more solid at the back and less gettable on the counter and that has worked, for sure.
The Citizens have conceded just 12 goals in 13 games this season, keeping clean sheets in 4 of their last 5 in the league. Just the single goal conceded in the champions league group stages too. Solid.
Despite their decent cup record under Arteta, it’s hard to be convinced by the hosts here. Worse teams than City have deservedly beaten them this season and with the visitors proving a tough nut to crack it may only take one or two goals to settle the contest. Quotes of 21/20 on City to win a game featuring fewer than 5 Goals makes plenty of appeal. It’s banked in 12/13 City wins this season and all 8 of Arsenal’s losses.
I notice Stuart Atwell has the whistle for this one, he’s been candid in card giving which is apt at this time of year. He’s dished out a minimum of 4 cards in 8 of his 9 matches this season, interestingly 6 of his 8 UK-based fixtures he’s given both sides at least 2 cards.
If we head to the Bet365 Bet Builder function we can back Each Side Over 1 Card at a handsome 12/5 and despite cup competitions usually going lower for cards, we’re getting to the business end with just eight sides left. It’s a selection that’s copped in 50% of Arsenal league games and 3 of City’s last 6 domestically. Given the referee and the price it’s got to be worth a play, I make it shorter than 2/1.