Man City vs Arsenal – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 26th April 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we examine the top of the table clash between Man City and Arsenal. Six points dropped in 3 games has eroded Arsenal’s advantage at the summit. Can they stop City from closing in? Read on with our Man City vs Arsenal prediction.
Man City vs Arsenal Match Preview
With the title race edging towards the finale, Man City have been steadily catching up with the Premier League’s long-time leaders and their opponents on this occasion. Pep Guardiola’s men notched their sixth successive league victory with a routine 3-1 win over Leicester City in which the game was practically over after 25 minutes at 3-0.
As a result, City were afforded the luxury of resting Haaland, De Bruyne, Grealish, Rodri and Stones for various periods of the second half with the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich around the corner. They were promptly outplayed thereafter, but with Leicester taking until the 75th minute to find their breakthrough it mattered not in the end.
Thanks to this recent run of victories and Arsenal dropping 6 points in their last three matches, City are now five points behind the leaders but crucially they have two games in hand. They have a relatively kind title run-in, although away days at Brighton and Brentford could prove to be tricky (although Brentford are no longer in the kind of form they were in when they won at the Etihad 2-1 in the reverse fixture).
As stated, Arsenal are in serious danger of letting their first Premier League crown in 19 years slip from their grasp. They’ve led for the majority of the season, but appear to be fading fast. A chaotic 3-3 home draw against a struggling Southampton side is clearly not of the standard required to close out the season as Premier League winners.
Only an improved late showing, this time with goals from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka was responsible for Arsenal not dropping an additional point. With no clean sheet along with 10 goals shipped in their last six matches in all competitions, the defensive solidity that has elevated Arsenal to what would have been deemed at the start of the season as an unlikely title challenge has evaporated.
Though they’re probably running into Chelsea at the right time following this fixture as Chelsea have continued to be woefully out of sorts, they face a difficult away match at Newcastle United and also play in-form Brighton at home. While for much of the season, we’d suggest that they would rightly fear no one, their recent performances don’t inspire confidence in their ability to see the job through.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Ake
Might Not Play: Xhaka
Will Not Play: Elneny, Saliba, Tomiyasu
Man City vs Arsenal Lineups (Predicted)
Man City (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Laporte, Akanji, Dias; Stones, Rodri; Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish; Haaland
Arsenal (4-3-3/4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Gabriel, Holding, White; Partey, Xhaka; Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka; Jesus
Man City vs Arsenal Analysis
Man City Can Punish Arsenal’s Expansive Game
Prior to this season, the notion that a Pep Guardiola team would be looking to hurt the opposition primarily in transition would have been laughed out of the room. However, in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium in February that’s exactly what happened. City were ruthlessly clinical in attack, and at no point was it suggested that they weren’t good value for their 3-1 victory despite only having 36% possession.
While it didn’t help that Arsenal’s Tomiyasu gifted Kevin De Bruyne with the opening goal with a misjudged backpass, City were able to carve open Arsenal in transition repeatedly, and the statistic of six shots on target compared to Arsenal’s one was indicative of their superior quality in attack. Arsenal kept the ball well and were territorially dominant, but ultimately were lightweight in attack.
Note that this was when Arsenal were clearly in the ascendancy in the title race. City had struggled for consistency earlier in the season as they attempted to solve the quandary of integrating Erling Haaland on a game-by-game basis. Now, City are flying and Arsenal don’t look like keeping a clean sheet any time soon. City have a number of in-form attackers – Haaland, Grealish and De Bruyne in particular, with strong support from Bernardo Silva and Gundogan from deep, and that’s before we talk about Mahrez, Foden and Alvarez from the bench.
It’s difficult to see how Arsenal can keep this City side at bay – the last time City scored less than twice in the league at home was in their 1-1 draw with Everton back on New Year’s Eve, and that was a back to the walls performance from Everton that Arsenal are unlikely to be set up for to replicate. Arsenal have been struggling to contain ‘lesser’ attacking threats (with all due respect) in recent games, so this situation does not bode well for them.
Arsenal Should Be the Fresher of the Two Sides
Although we acknowledge that Arsenal are seemingly in disarray at the moment, they have played only four games this month in comparison to the six that Manchester City have played. City didn’t opt to rotate completely for their FA Cup semi-final match against Sheffield United as they’re chasing a historic treble (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) and if Arsenal are able to stay in the match beyond the hour mark there’s a chance that they could produce another late show to gain a positive result.
While City are clearly in better form and scoring goals for fun, Arsenal are still scoring goals at an impressive rate, albeit without defending with the same kind of quality. Despite only picking up 9 points from their last 5 Premier League matches, Arsenal have scored 15 goals during that period and, incredibly, have scored in all but one of this season’s away league matches (1-0 defeat at Everton).
It’s imperative that Arsenal don’t get carried away with trying to put the Man City defence under pressure. We don’t like to talk down positive, proactive football, but should they find themselves a couple down at half time we believe the game would be as good as over. However, if Arsenal can rein in their attacking instincts and prioritise reducing City’s threat in transition, it’s likely that they will find in turn that they’ll have more room to exploit as Man City vacate spaces to join their attack.
On current form, this is nothing but a home win. It’s very difficult to make a case for Arsenal’s current capability to produce the kind of performance required to get a result at the Etihad. We acknowledge that football is a high-variance game, and Arsenal have demonstrated throughout the season that they’re capable of beating anybody, but it doesn’t look likely given their defensive issues.
City are such a huge attacking threat at the moment, both in transition and also from a more controlled buildup and high-pressing combination that it’s difficult for the opposition to know exactly how to combat their multiple threats. At the moment, it’s looking as though Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff have finally transformed City into a more dangerous team than ever, and Arsenal could be in for an extremely tough evening.
Man City 4-1 Arsenal
Man City vs Arsenal Betting Tip – Man City -1 (win by 2 goals or more) Odds:
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