Old friends clash at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, with Mikel Arteta taking his Arsenal side north to face his coaching mentor and former boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team. While neither side has any real chance of winning the Premier League this season, there is still plenty to play for. The Gunners can claim a fourth successive league victory while City need to bounce back quickly from their weekend defeat to Manchester United.
City lost to local rivals Manchester United at the weekend, losing 2-0 in a game in which they dominated much of possession but just could not break down the Red Devils. But City had been in good form up in recent weeks up until the defeat at United. Just the week before the Manchester derby loss, City beat Aston Villa in the final of the EFL Cup. They also established a key 2-1 lead after the first leg of their Champions League knock out round tie with Real Madrid. Arsenal will need to be careful they don’t cop for a City backlash.
Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt with a thigh injury, while Lucas Torreira (ankle) and Calum Chambers (knee) are both out for the long term. Arsenal have the chance of rising above local rivals Tottenham Hotspur if they win this game and secure a fourth consecutive league victory. Arsenal have improved since Arteta’s appointment as Unai Emery’s replacement in December and beat West Ham United 1-0 at home at the weekend.One bleak spot, though, has been the Gunners’ recent exit of the Europa League, at the hands of Greek side Olympiakos. They are down in ninth place in the league table, eight points off fourth spot.
When it comes to recent history between these sides, it’s City who are the form team. Gaurdiola’s side have won their last six matches against the Gunners in all competitions. Punters should also keep their eye on Sergio Aguero. The Argentine striker has scored 10 goals in his last 12 games against the Gunners in all competitions. Three of those goals came in one game last season, when he scored all of City’s efforts in their 3-1 win over the Gunners at the Etihad Stadium.
If you fancy a bet on Aguero to score on Wednesday evening, then Betway have him priced at odds of 3.40 to be the game’s first goalscorer. He is priced at 1.53 to score at any time. As well as that 3-1 league win last season in which Aguero scored all of City’s goals, the Mancunian outfit also scored three times at the Emirates Stadium, winning 3-0 there in December. Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and Raheem Sterling once that day.
City certainly have the edge when it comes to recent history between the teams, especially in the Premier League. One thing in Arsenal’s favour, though, is their recent away form. Since Arteta was appointed in December he is unbeaten in all seven of his away games. That is the best away start to a managerial reign in the club’s history. The Gunners could also draw a sixth consecutive away league match for the first time in their history.
Arsenal also hold the advantage when it comes to the overall Premier League record between the teams. Out of 45 Premier League clashes in total, the Gunners have won 23, with 11 of those wins coming away from home. City have won just 12 of those games, with eight victories over the Gunners at home. There have been just 10 draws between these two teams in the Premier League.
Another interesting twist to this game, of course, comes from the fact that Mikel Arteta spent three-and-a-half years working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach at City.
The five most recent results
Our recommended tip for this game comes courtesy of Coral. They are offering odds of 2.55 on Manchester City winning the game to nil. We think that this is a good bet, given City’s recent dominance over the Gunners in all competitions in the last six games. Last season, City scored six goals and conceded just one in their two league games against the north Londoners. We are expecting City to have to show some patience when it comes to breaking down the Gunners’ defence, but we think that they will score twice in the second half to win the game 2-0.