It's Gunner get very nervy at the Etihad Stadium...
Manchester City v Arsenal, Sunday 4.00pm, Sky Sports 1
Do we seriously live in a world where Donald Trump is getting a heap of support to become US President, Leicester City are Premier League champions, and Manchester City could, just could miss out on a top four spot? Yes we do, and Pep Guardiola is worryingly closer to not having any Champions League football next year than he’d like to be.
City are four points clear of their nearest-and-least dearest Manchester United, however Louis van Gaal’s side have a game in hand.
The Citizens are to grab a top four spot (or a 78 per cent chance if you haven’t got an abacus to hand) but a lot of that comes down to them beating Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini’s men are to do just that, but there is more than one reason to be a tad concerned…
Firstly is the potential for a Champions League hangover. City have played 11 European ties this year and followed each tie up with just five wins – a success rate of just 45 per cent. They’ve suffered defeats to Manchester United, West Ham and most recently Southampton, while also being held 0-0 by relegated Aston Villa after a Champions League clash.
There is no doubt that Wednesday’s disappointment against Real Madrid in Spain will take a bit of a toll on Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Then there is Manchester City’s notably poor record against the Premier League’s top eight. They’ve won just one, drawn three and lost nine – including home defeats to Tottenham, West Ham, Leicester and Manchester United.
The Gunners themselves are on an eight game unbeaten run and have a decent record against Manchester City – winning three and drawing two of their last five clashes in all competitions. Arsene Wenger’s men are to win at the Etihad Stadium, and a City loss twinned with a United win over Norwich would put just a point between the two Manchester sides, with the Red Devils holding a game in hand.
That might just be enough to worry City fans, but there’s a chance for punters to profit with a shot on Sunday.
While Manchester City have a wobbly record against the top eight, they’ve scored in 89 per cent of their home games this season – failing to score just twice in a 0-0 draw with Everton and 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. The Gunners have kept five clean sheets in their last seven top flight games, but on the road they’ve conceded in each game away to the league’s top nine – leaking a whopping 19 goals in seven games.
However, Wenger’s men scored five away at Leicester, three each at Anfield and Upton Park, and a couple of goals at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane. In fact Tottenham are the only side in the top flight with more goals on the road than Arsenal, and that’s why the Gunners to win and both teams to score at could be a tidy way to pocket a few pennies on Sunday afternoon.
Defeat to City might not cost them a Champions League spot in the long run – but it certainly opens the door…