Premier heavyweights, Arsenal and Manchester City, face each other in the Premier League this Thursday night, just three days after their clash at Wembley, in the final of EFL Cup 2017/18, last Sunday. Manchester City could become the first side to beat Arsenal three times in a single season since Chelsea achieved the feat in 2005/06 season.
The gunners were utterly outplayed by Pep Guardiola’s City in the League Cup final on Sunday, which was won 3-0 by the Manchester side. Goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, and David Silva ensured the victory for Man City, who won their first trophy under Pep Guardiola last Sunday.
In the Premier League, Arsenal lost their last game 1-0 against North London rivals, Spurs. Meanwhile, Manchester City won 5-1 against Leicester City in their previous outings.
With the possibility of heavy snowfall, the white marking on the pitch at Emirates is replaced by blue markings in today’s game.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 1, 2018
Pep Guardiola’s men have won three of their last five games in the Premier League. In the process, they have lost one and drawn the other.Meanwhile, the Gunners have lost three of their last five games in the league, winning the other two games.
Manchester City have been top of the table in the Premier League since September last year. The sky-blues of Manchester have managed 72 points in the league so far. Their points total of 72 from 27 games in the most ever by an English top-flight side at this stage of the season. If they win on Thursday, they will match Arsenal’s points tally in the Premier League last season (75 points from 38 games).
Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League table, having managed 55 points from 27 matches played in the league. Wenger’s men are 10 points behind the fourth and final Champions League place, having played a game fewer than Spurs who are currently fourth. The gunners are 27 points behind their opponents on Thursday, Man City.
Also, Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last nine Premier League matches. The last time they went 10 Premier League games without a shutout was back in 2002. The Gunners have recorded only two victories in their last 16 Premier League fixtures against fellow ‘big six’ teams in English football, having drawn six and losing eight in the process. Their last two victories against fellow ‘big six’ clubs came against Spurs in November 2017 and against Manchester United in May, last season.
Referee Andre Mariner will be in charge of the fixture this Thursday, while Scott Ledger and Ian Hussin will be the Assistant Referees. Mike Dean will be on fourth official duties.
In previous 41 meetings between these two sides in the Premier League, Arsenal have won 23 times with 12 of those wins coming at home. Manchester City have won eight Premier League meetings against the North London side. However, only one of those wins came at Arsenal’s home, which came under Roberto Mancini in January 2013.
Arsenal have won only two of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Manchester City, drawing five and losing four. However, City have won only one of their 20 Premier League away games against Arsenal, drawing seven and losing 12 games.
Players To Watch
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s creative machine, Mesut Ozil, has scored four goals and provided seven assists in the league this season. The 29-year-old German has provided 49 assists in 138 Premier League games since his arrival in the summer of 2013. If he assists in this game, he will set a Premier League record for the fewest games taken to reach 50 assists (currently held by Eric Cantona, 143 Premier League appearances to reach 50 assists).
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Sergio Aguero is the top scorer for City this season with 21 league goals to his name. The Argentine needs just five more goals this season to match his best ever tally of 26 goals in a single Premier League season.
Already Man City’s all-time top scorer Aguero can reach 200-goal mark in all competitions with a goal on Thursday. The 29-year-old has scored in each of his last five appearances against the Gunners in all competitions; he has never scored in six consecutive games against a single opponent.
Defender Nacho Monreal came off after just 25 minutes into the game due to a back injury. The Spaniard is doubtful for the game on Thursday. Alexandre Lacazette is expected to be sidelined till mid-March with a knee injury. Long-term absentee Santi Cazorla is unlikely to play this season.
Left-back Benjamin Mendy is expected to be back no sooner than April. Fernandinho is a doubt for the game on Thursday on the count of his hamstring injury.
Raheem Sterling missed the final on Sunday with a hamstring injury. He remains doubtful for this game. Fabian Delph is also out suspended.
Arsenal vs Manchester City Line Up ( Predicted XI)
Arsenal Line Up (3-4-3)
Defense: Chambers (RCB), Mustafi (CB), Koscielny (LCB)
Midfield: Bellerin (RM), Xhaka (RCM), Wilshere (LCM), Kolasinac (LM)
Manchester City Line Up (4-3-3)
Defense: Walker (RB), Laporte (RCB), Otamendi (LCB), Danilo (LB)
Midfield: De Bruyne (RCM), Gundogan (CM), Silva (LCM)
Arsenal vs Manchester City Prediction
The Gunners have won five of their last six Premier League games. However, their recent form has been less than average. Wenger’s men have just won four of their last six games in all competitions.
On the other hand, Manchester City have lost only one of their last 35 Premier League games, winning 29 and drawing five. Guardiola’s side have scored an astounding 79 league goals this season. Against Arsenal back-line which has failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this year, City are expected to add to their tally on Thursday.
Our prediction for this game is a 1-3 away win for Man City.