Premier League – Arsenal v Manchester City Preview
Last week’s shock defeat at QPR may have served as a reality check for Arsenal, who looked as though they were about to run away with third place in the Premier League and the final automatic spot in next season’s Champions League.
Having won their previous six games, few people would have seen the reverse at Rangers Stadium coming but it’s opened the door again for Spurs to challenge their fierce North London rivals and the two teams are level on points again heading into this weekend. Arsenal also arguably have a tougher run-in, with Chelsea due at the Emirates a couple of weeks after Manchester City’s visit this weekend. The stakes could hardly be higher for both sides as City try desperately to hang on to the coat-tails of Manchester United having blown a big lead at the top since Chritsmas. But Arsenal have a score to settle with City having lost a bad-tempered contest between the sides at the Etihad in December. There certainly isn’t any love lost between the clubs but the Gunners are in better form in general now and, taking City’s woeful form on the road recently, could be worth backing at 6/4 to put another nail in the coffin of the visitors’ title aspirations.
Roberto Mancini has refused to give details about a bizarre injury to Sergio Aguero but the Italian will be without the Argentinian striker at the Emirates and this is the time of year when every goal scored or conceded is significant. Mario Balotelli’s short fuse was in evidence again against Sunderland last week and Edin Dzeko is struggling for form so Mancini, possibly reluctantly, may have to turn to Carlos Tevez to be his saviour – now wouldn’t that be a story!
The goals have dried up a little for Robin van Persie as well but that’s possibly understandable given the games he’s played and his tally so far. The Dutchman will be gathering himself for one final push, however, and he’s going to get chances against a City defence that looks far from settled at present and playing with a touch of nervousness. A 2-0 victory for Arsenal is available at 11/1 and Arsene Wenger’s team are 5/2 to score exactly two goals. This game is the subject of one of our Money Back Specials and we’ll refund all losing first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast singles if five or more goals are scored.