Arsenal vs Man City – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 15th February 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we examine the top of the table clash in Arsenal vs Man City. Arsenal have stumbled a little lately, and City have issues off the pitch to deal with. Who will prevail here? Read on with our Arsenal vs Man City prediction.
Arsenal vs Man City Match Preview
This match is the rescheduled game from earlier in the season. As it turns out, Arsenal and Man City will play each other twice as they are involved in a fight for the league title. Arsenal enter the game with their bubble burst somewhat. After defeating Man United last month and gathering 50 points at the halfway point of the season, they have since lost at Goodison and drawn against Brentford at the weekend. Trossard made the breakthrough soon after coming on, but a Toney equaliser denied the Gunners all three points. Arsenal had their chances, with 69 per cent possession and seven shots on target, but could not attain the win.
Hence, Arsenal have seven points from the last 12. They also drew with Newcastle at the Emirates before this run; some cracks may be appearing. Still, sitting on top of the table with a three-point gap to City, they know that a win will put them six clear with a game in hand.
City come into the game under a heavy cloud, with the news of the Premier League investigating them for alleged financial breaches. On the pitch, City are still receiving criticism for a perceived slow style of play and inability to get Haaland into games (despite his 25 league goals this season), but there are signs of improvement. City sit top of the form table over the last four games, having won three of them. Their loss was two weeks ago at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
City rectified that defeat with a commanding 3-1 victory at home to Aston Villa at the weekend. Allied to Arsenal’s draw, they gained two points on the London club. Their away form is more muted, including the Tottenham loss and defeats to rivals Man United and Liverpool in the last six. Therefore, they have been poor away from home against the other members of the ‘big six’ this season. Arsenal hope this trend continues. If City can win, they will go top of the table, admittedly having played a game more. The crucial thing for them is that the title is still in their hands.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Elneny, Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Jesus
Might Not Play: Haaland
Will Not Play: Stones
Arsenal vs Man City Lineups (Predicted)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1/4-3-3): Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, White; Xhaka, Partey; Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka; Nketiah
Man City (4-2-3-1/4-3-3): Ederson; Ake, Laporte, Dias, Lewis; Gundogan, Rodri; Grealish, De Bruyne, Mahrez; Haaland
Arsenal vs Man City Analysis
The Contest for Control of the Game
This game will be played by two very talented teams who like to take control of the match. Indeed, City are first in most positive areas in the statistics table, with 65.2 per cent possession on average, 46.3 expected goals, over 13,000 passes completed, and 362 shots attempted. Arsenal, while not as dominant as City, rank highly in these metrics too.
Hence, with the game being at the Emirates, we anticipate a reasonably even game where both teams have their spells of possession and the hosts feel there is an onus on them to attack. Arsenal may be happy with a draw to maintain their three-point gap, or coach Mikel Arteta may smell blood with this City team. Xhaka, Partey, and Odegaard must take possession of the ball and attempt to play short passes in the midfield area.
Odegaard’s role in this game is crucial – the Norwegian is a brilliant footballer and will try to find spaces to turn and face the City goal. It is vital that he is press-resistant and plays around the City players closing him down, such as Gundogan, Rodri, or Bernardo Silva. If he can do this, he can disrupt the City shape and find openings to get the wingers into the game.
Xhaka and Partey are equally important with their athleticism and ability to cover ground and close off spaces. The City midfielders are technically gifted and adept at finding space and keeping their passing carousel going. However, we think Arsenal can take the game to them and obtain a good share of the possession – not just sterile possession, but valuable possession.
We have mentioned Zinchenko’s ability to step into midfield before. The former City man must try to play around his ex-team-mates and link with the Arsenal midfield three. City will likely have a bit more of the ball. However, Arsenal have the players and technical and tactical ability to hurt what has been a slower, more ponderous City side for much of the season.
Attacking Areas and the Width
There are different ways that the two teams can bring their wingers and strikers into the game. First, they can maintain possession (as stated earlier) and exert sustained pressure through ball dominance. A second factor is the pace of either team on transitions. The counter-attack is crucial because as one team pushes to open the scoring, the other could hit them on the break and strike in the spaces which are left exposed. Tactical balance is important. Indeed, this game is one where Xhaka and Rodri are surely destined to commit a tactical foul and receive a yellow card.
Both teams must get the ball to their wingers – Martinelli, Saka, Grealish, and Mahrez are all tricky customers with great technique and dribbling quality. Which of these players attacks the full-backs best and beats them could be vital in finding their way into the box and presenting opportunities for cutbacks and shots on goal.
The Haaland debate rages on. Some say his quality is limited outside of the box and scoring and that Jesus offered more in general play last season. Others say City don’t pick him out enough and play him in on the deadly runs he makes. Haaland’s away record is relatively average this season. However, we think City might play more directly towards him here (if he is fit) and that the driving and passing ability of De Bruyne could prove essential. The Belgian is to City what Odegaard is to Arsenal, as the primary playmaker who ties the team together. They and the wide players will look to provide service to Haaland and Nketiah. The two strikers will be hopeful of being clinical and scoring goals in this game.
The first goal is vital. Whoever scores first will likely take control of the match, and the other side will have to take more risks. The longer the game goes, the losing side will become increasingly desperate. Thus, an early goal could pay dividends for either side. Still, while this event would be fantastic for whoever scores it, we wouldn’t disqualify the conceding team’s chances of getting back into the game.
There are possible replacements for both sides. Arsenal have Tierney, Kiwior, Tomiyasu, and Holding as precautions if injuries happen to their defenders. They can call on Jorginho, Vieira, and the impressive new signing Trossard in midfield and attacking areas. City have Akanji, Gomez, and Walker as defensive reinforcements. The highly technical and athletic Foden, Palmer, and Alvarez can be introduced if they need a fresh injection of creativity.
This match is vital in the title race. Arsenal have been fantastic this season, surprising many. However, they still haven’t played City in the league (they lost in the FA Cup at the Etihad), and this will be a true test of their title credentials. As stated, we anticipate a match where both teams have moments and spells of being on top; it is difficult to say, but we don’t see either team dominating and running away with it. Both teams’ midfielders will be full of energy and adrenaline. Both sides also have more than enough attacking ability to create chances or provide a magic moment.
Therefore, we are predicting a draw and the status quo to be maintained. If we were to choose a winner, we would slightly lean towards City winning by one goal. However, we aren’t confident enough in this happening given the more underwhelming form City have been in all season compared to last. Arsenal have a day’s extra rest, which may work in their favour against a City team with more substantial options from the bench. We see both teams cancelling each other out.
Arsenal 1-1 Man City
Arsenal vs Man City Betting Tip – Draw Odds:
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