WILL DYER (@w2Dyer)'s second helping for us on Super Sunday is a mouthwatering tie. Man City and Arsenal, two sides that can hardly keep a clean sheet to save their lives, battle it out to keep in touch with the title race.
Manchester City v Arsenal | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
A big clash in the top-four at Etihad this weekend.
I say top-four rather than top of the table because Chelsea’s nine-point lead means that if we have a loser in this game that side will have one hell of a lot of catching up to do if they want a chance of the title.
At time of writing, the Blues have built a 16-point gap over sixth-place Manchester United. The league is very quickly becoming Chelsea’s to lose and that should create a sense of desperation amongst Manchester City and Arsenal.
So often their failing in title races, the Gunners have started to get results away to the big sides in the last few seasons under Arsene Wenger.
They have now lost just two of their last six visits to Etihad stadium; posting a W2-D2-L2 record. Very decent considering City won the league in two of those six seasons and finished in the top three in five of them.
The main problem that both sides have coming into this fixture is the absence of key players, especially with the busy Christmas period ahead. The Citizens are missing Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho and Vincent Kompany; aside from Kevin de Bruyne I would go as far to say that is their four best players.
Naturally, Arsenal have a similar problem. No Per Mertesacker or Shkodran Mustafi means trouble at the back and no Aaron Ramsey and still no Santi Cazorla is not ideal in midfield. They do have a big crop of players to choose from in the middle of the park but those two are a couple of the best, to my eye.
Score Draws Trend
Six of the last 13 league meetings between these sides have ended all-square and all of the last four that have done so have been ‘score’ draws.
That’s how I’m going to play this one. Arsenal have scored in all of their last 13 away games since their first away game of the season at the King Power. However, at the other end it’s now a frankly pathetic 11 games without a clean sheet.
Similar trends can be highlighted for Man City. The clean sheet against Watford was their first in nine matches but you have to go back 14 games to when Real Madrid visited the Etihad in April to find the last time they failed to bag in front of their own fans.
Pep Guardiola’s men have won just three of their last eight in all competitions and until their talisman Aguero returns to the side it’s hard to see them winning consistently. They are still dominating possession but that ball dominance will be reduced when playing Arsenal and I can see this being a close game as a result.
The visitors have been wonderful to watch going forward on many occasions this season. Theo Walcott and notably Alexis Sanchez, unplayable at times. It's hard to see City keeping them out with their porous and shaky back-line.
Goals are always on the agenda when these clubs are concerned and with the draw trends and importance of not losing this fixture highlighted I fancy the ‘Correct Score Group’ market at Skybet.
This game to end 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 is priced at 10/3 and, as mentioned, it would have won in four of the last eight Premier League meetings, giving us implied odds of even-money!
Manchester City v Arsenal – Correct Score Group Betting 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 (10/3 Skybet)