Pep Guardiola has never lost a Premier League game against Arsenal and his Manchester City side are coming into this fixture in red-hot form with 17 wins on the trot in all competitions, 14 of those covering the -1 handicap!
The league is all but over, with Guardiola’s side 10 points clear now ahead of their city rivals (we told you this way back before their trip to Liverpool last month when we paid out on City!) – and the question is now whether Pep will rest some players ahead of their Champions League campaign resuming next week.
It’s almost impossible to look past a City win for this one. They’ve beaten Arsenal in their last seven league meetings, and in the most tumultuous season imaginable, they are still putting together one of the strongest winning streaks in recent memory. Arsenal will try to keep this one tight for as long as possible, but conceding early could make it a long afternoon for the Gunners.
With a huge home leg (in Greece!) coming up for Arsenal in the Europa League, they could be forgiven for not being at 100% for this game. If you’re not at your best against City, prepare to be punished. I had considered Win to Nil but I think -1 on the handicap is the safer play to kick-start our bet builder. Arsenal at home can create chances at any stage, but they will be cut open as well and expect City to score a couple.
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I think there is value to be found in the Shot On Target markets for this one with two bigger priced selections looking nice to add into the Bet Builder, but trying to predict a Pep Guardiola starting 11 is always extremely difficult due to the wealth of talent he has to choose from.
The in-form Ilkay Gundogan faces a late fitness test and might not be ready to play a part in this one so I’m looking at Bernardo Silva instead. He’s a bigger price than his attacking team-mates based on the fact he’s been taking less shots this season than previously. We’ve seen how Gundogan has excelled through the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and I think you can make a case for Bernardo playing in a more central role without both De Bruyne and Gundogan and being allowed the freedom to drift forward and to get on the end of attacking moves.
With Arsenal conceding an average of 12.4 shots over the past six league games, odds against looks very nice for Silva.
Another player with a nice Shot On Target price is Arsenal’s star player of the season Bukayo Saka. Saka is arguably Arsenal’s first name on the team sheet at the moment and has shown how much of a handful he can be with his quick feet, creating a half yard of space and not being afraid to get a shot away.
He is averaging around 2.3 shots per 90 minutes and as well as being capable at a strike from distance. We’ve also seen him get on the end of low crosses into the area or cutbacks from Kieran Tierney or Hector Bellerin already this season. Saka has an eye for goal and will be Arsenal’s main threat and looks good to get a Shot On Target.
To finish off the Bet Builder I’m looking at the ‘to be booked’ market. I’m wondering how Joao Cancelo is going to stop Bukayo Saka without hauling him down! Saka will be Arsenal’s main threat on the counter-attack abd Guardiola has instilled a mentality in his Man City squad to stop counter-attacks at all costs and take the cynical foul if necessary.
Cancelo has three yellows to his name so far this season but does foul often. These days one cynical foul is enough to warrant a yellow and I expect Cancelo to be a front-runner to be booked.
Arsenal v Manchester City Bet Builder
A Bet Builder including these four picks pays around 47/1 with Paddy Power.
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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