Manchester City vs Arsenal verdict, predicted score, key stats and suggested bets
Date, KO time and TV coverage
Premier League, Wednesday, April 26, Kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport
Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal
Manchester City to beat Arsenal
Both teams to score – No
Manchester City have won their last seven matches against Arsenal in all competitions
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Arsenal’s last eight PL games
Manchester City have won their last six PL matches
Man City’s last three PL matches has seen both teams scoring
Arsenal have drawn their last three games with both teams scoring
Nathan Ake is set to miss out with a hamstring injury which he picked up against Bayern Munich. John Stones, Ruben Dias, Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne are all likely to return after Pep Guardiola rotated his team in the FA Cup semi-final. Riyad Mahrez is pushing to start after his hat-trick, but Phil Foden may be preferred.
William Saliba will miss out again for Arsenal with Rob Holding set to keep his place at the back. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are out, but Granit Xhaka should return after illness. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus are both in line to start against their former club.
These two teams have been first and second for much of the season and they will meet on Wednesday in a game which will go a long way to deciding the title.
City have the upperhand in recent meetings having won the last seven games between the sides, including a 3-1 win at The Emirates earlier in the season and a 1-0 win in the FA Cup.
There is very little to choose between the records of these two sides with Arsenal five points ahead, but City have two games in hand.
City also have a better goal difference (+7) having scored one more goal and conceded six fewer than the Gunners. And of late it’s the defensive side of Arsenal’s game which has let them down.
They have not kept a clean sheet since the win at Fulham in March with the following five games seeing both teams score. Their recent 3-3 draw at home to struggling Southampton exposed their defensive frailties and if there was ever a team to exacerbate a problem then it’s the champions.
Arsenal’s poor defensive record has coincided with Saliba’s absence due to a back injury and he will miss out once more. That will mean that Holding and Gabriel will have to stop a City forward line that has scored 31 times in their last eight games.
The pair failed to do that in the 1-0 FA Cup defeat in January and Holding was hooked at half-time in a tactical change after being booked. He struggled up against the pace of Erling Haaland and Saliba arrived to steady the ship.
Without the insurance of Saliba’s pace, Arsenal have conceded ground in recent matches. Opta stats show how their defensive line against West Ham recently was nearly three metres deeper compared to their seasonal average. It means they are likely to give City more space to play in and there’s no worse team to do that against than the champions.
Expect City to dominate possession. And the last time anybody shut out City was Spurs in February. The hosts look more than capable of going after an Arsenal team who have been rocking.
A look at the xGA confirms that Arsenal’s defence falls short of City’s. Both teams have an xG of 2.19, but Arsenal’s xGA is 1.19, while City (0.94) are the only side in the league who average less than a goal conceded per game.
It’s those stats and the recent form that points to a home win and with 13 wins from 15 at home, the 8/15 looks worth supporting.
The interesting factor will be whether Arsenal can impose their attacking game on City. Undoubtedly, they have the players to cause City problems and the pace of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will be crucial.
Arteta may even opt for a defensive style and play on the break against City. They will not be as open as they were in the draw with Saints, but City are expected to get the job done and pile the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table.