- Venue: Emirates Stadium
- Saturday: December 15th, 16:30
- Referee: Paul Tierney
Prior to the weekend fixtures, Manchester City were fourteen points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool and Arsenal languished in ninth position with hopes of a final top-four position receding by the week. Although the Gunners will be aware of their poor recent results against City with five successive defeats registered and at least two goals conceded per game, they may hope that interim manager Freddie Ljungberg can provide some inspiration for a positive performance in front of the home support. Both teams need the points for different reasons, but their current inconsistency could ensure an intriguing clash.
When winning 3-1 at West Ham last weekend, Arsenal ended a sequence of seven Premier League games without winning and provided some cheer for supporters of the Gunners who had witnessed some recent relatively poor performances during the Unai Emery reign as manager. No league wins have been registered at the Emirates Stadium since a 1-0 victory against Bournemouth back in early October after which Arsenal have failed to register a clean sheet in all competitions. Scoring goals has not been a serious problem, but the Gunners have earned a regular habit of conceding twice per match.
For Manchester City, a mixed series of results in recent weeks have dented their hopes of retaining the Premier League title. Defeats by both Liverpool and Manchester United have been damaging, and a 2-2 draw at Newcastle later last month was unexpected with City unable to capitalise on their superior possession. However, Pep Guardiola’s players have claimed 4-1 victories in their last two competitive away matches proving that their attacking ability is still undiminished, but no clean sheets registered since late October suggests some vulnerability in defence.
Rob Holding (knee), Granit Xhaka (concussion), Dani Ceballos (thigh) and Kieran Tierney (dislocated shoulder) are expected to be sidelined at Arsenal. Hector Bellerin (hamstring) and Nicolas Pepe (knee) will be assessed before this match.
Aymeric Laporte (knee) and Leroy Sane (knee) are long-term absentees at Manchester City while Sergio Aguero (thigh) will also be unavailable. David Silva (leg) and John Stones (thigh) are further injury concerns, but Ederson Moraes should return after an illness.
When drawing 2-2 at Standard Liege on Thursday evening, both teams were scoring in an Arsenal competitive match for the eleventh time in twelve games with that same scoreline featuring on three other occasions. At least three goals have also been scored in each of their four fixtures this month. As for Manchester City, the home and away teams have scored in their last ten matches in all competitions amid some sizeable scorelines. Therefore, a good bet for this game may be for Over 2.5 goals to be scored and Both Teams to Score priced at 4/6 with bet365.
A second pick is for Manchester City to Win and Both Teams to Score offered at 11/8 by bet365. This selection is based on the greater ability of City to win matches despite their current failings in defence, and they have beaten Southampton, Chelsea and Burnley in recent weeks. Arsenal have claimed just a single victory since late October when overcoming out-of-form West Ham and they may just lack confidence when playing at the Emirates in front of an expectant home crowd. The Gunners will probably still score a goal against a hesitant back-line.
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Over 2.5 goals to be scored and Both Teams to Score
Manchester City to Win and Both Teams to Score
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