Arsenal vs Manchester City recommended bets
Arsenal vs Manchester City match preview
Last season Manchester City pipped Arsenal to the title by just five points, largely due to the fact they won both head-to-head encounters, emphasising just how pivotal this heavyweight, top of the table clashes can be.
This though was merely the continuation of a trend, given that the Sky Blues have won each of their last 12 Premier League meetings with the Gunners, last tasing defeat in this fixture in December 2015.
However, in the FA Community Shield just 63 days ago, Mikel Arteta finally got one over Pep Guardiola, his team prevailing on penalties, so can the challengers now beat the champions when it really matters?
On Tuesday night, Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season, in any competition, beaten 2-1 by Lens in the Champions League at a bouncing Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
Gabriel Jesus fired the visitors in front early in Northern France, only for les Sang et Or to equalise not long after, before firing home an equally spectacular winner in the second half.
Of course, this leaves the Gunners with work to do in the Champions League, but the most pertinent loss suffered in mid-week could be that of Bukayo Saka, who hobbled off for the third game running.
Back in the Premier League, last weekend’s demolition of Bournemouth leaves Arteta’s side third, having won five out of seven so far.
Arsenal are unbeaten after seven league outings for the first time since 07/08, not losing until their 16th fixture of that campaign, ultimately missing out on the title to Manchester-based opposition by four points.
As for Man City, they’d actually lost back-to-back games this time last week, dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Newcastle, before Saturday’s shock 2-1 reverse against Wolves at Molineux.
Nevertheless, the Citizens got back on track by defeating RB Leipzig 3-1 on Wednesday, with Phil Foden, Julián Álvarez and then Jérémy Doku the scorers in a hard-fought victory at Red Bull Arena.
Prior to last weekend’s defeat in the Black Country, Guardiola’s side had won six out of six in the league, so remain top, although defeat here could see them drop out of the top four entirely.
In this huge clash from North London, will Man City reaffirm that they are still the team to beat, or can Arsenal end their hoodoo by claiming a first win in this fixture for eight long years?
Arsenal team news
All the pre-match discussion has revolved around Bukayo Saka’s availability, with Mikel Arteta confirming on Friday that he is ‘in contention’, which basically means we’ll just have to wait and see.
The most likely outcome, and this is pure speculation, is that Saka will be in the starting XI, the entire Arsenal fanbase rejoices, but he’s not at all fit and is taken off early, but that’s just a theory!
In better news, Thomas Partey was back on the bench in mid-week but, given that the Ghanian hasn’t featured since 26 August, it would be a huge risk to throw him straight back into the XI.
Leandro Trossard was put straight back into the team against Lens, which is a massive boost, given that Gabriel Martinelli is still sidelined.
David Raya is very much Arteta’s number one right now, so it would be a huge surprise if Aaron Ramsdale was donning the gloves here.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Havertz, Ødegaard; Saka, Jesus, Trossard.
Manchester City team news
This is the final match of Rodri’s three-game ban and, following defeat to Newcastle, Man City’s league record without the Spaniard since his arrival now stands at: Played 15. Lost 5.
Rodri was allowed to feature in Wednesday’s win in Leipzig, but it was Rico Lewis who caught the eye, leading the speculation that the 18 year old right-back will be deployed in midfield once again here.
Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovačić did not form an effective partnership at Molineux, while Pep Guardiola has seemingly completely given up on Kalvin Phillips, who was given a rare chance in the Carabao Cup defeat.
Further forward, Jérémy Doku and Julián Álvarez both scored off the bench on Wednesday, so will either, or indeed both, come in to replace Bernardo Silva or Jack Grealish.
Erling Braut Håland has gone over four hours without a goal, which for him is an elongated draught, but, having scored home and away against Arsenal last season, will back himself to end that barren period here.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Walker, Rúben Dias, Akanji, Gvardiol; Kovačić, Lewis, Doku, Álvarez, Foden; Håland.