Man City will want to put midweek’s blip against Newcastle behind them, as Liverpool dropping points to Leicester can allow the Manchester to close the gap…
Man City v Arsenal
Sunday 3rd February, 16:30
Before the result against Newcastle, City had achieved a run of winning eight games in all competitions. In these games City scored thirty-three goals averaging just over four goals per game. However it is their away form which has held City back this season having lost three and drew two of their twelve away games. Compared to City’s eleven wins and one loss at home, it is clear Guardiola’s team much prefers to play in front of its own fans. This was made clear against Newcastle in midweek as they beat the North East side 2-1 at home but ran out 2-1 losers in the reverse fixture this week.
Overall this season, City have managed to average just over three goals per game (3.33) at home and limited their opposition to 0.83 goals per game at the Etihad. Taking their recent loss midweek into consideration, City’s home stats suggest they will rectify this against Arsenal. The side can’t afford to produce the performances they delivered in December as the drop in form before the break, allowed title rivals Liverpool to create a healthy gap between the two sides in the league table.
City were able to run riot at the Emirates, winning 2-0 against their opponents in the reverse fixture. City haven’t failed to score at home this season, this is in part due to the potent strikers that Guardiola has at his disposal. The talisman, Sergio Aguero has eleven goals and six assists, whilst the Brazilian, Gabriel Jesus, has five goals and two assists. Currently, Jesus hasn’t lost a game where he has scored.
Arsenal have been in mixed form going into Sunday’s game with Man City. Having won midweek against relegation side Cardiff, Emery’s men leapfrogged Chelsea into fourth place. Keeping their place this weekend may prove difficult as the London club have very mixed form when it comes to playing teams from the top five in the Premier League. Having beat Chelsea and Tottenham in the league, Arsenal have drawn and lost to Liverpool and lost to Man City. As well as this, the away side have not won on the road in five games, last finding an away victory against Bournemouth in November.
Despite scoring on average two goals per away game, Arsenal have went on to concede two goals on average when playing away. These defensive weaknesses will be further highlighted on Sunday with the absences of centre backs; Laurent Koscielny, Socratis and Ryan Holding. To make matters worse they will likely be without Hector Bellerin which stifles attacking options as well as defensive ones. His replacement, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also a doubt in this fixture.
A reason for Arsenal’s poor away form could be caused by the side’s inability to make the breakthrough before half-time in away games this season. This would allow the home side to mount a sizeable lead before Arsenal can break the home side down. This is a stat they will need to remedy remedy soon, as City have scored in 75% of First Halves of their home games meaning City could run away with this before the London club get going.
Arsenal will be without key defensive players going into this, as they have lost; Socratis, Koscielny and Holding for the game against City. Another issue will be Maitland-Niles potentially missing this as he has been a replacement for the already injured, Hector Bellerin.
Man City are without any major injury concerns, as Kompany and Mendy have been both injured for their previous matches with the home side finding ample replacements.
City will want to restore their title hopes by picking up three points in Sunday’s clash. Given Arsenal’s poor form in the first half of away matches, Guardiola will look to smother his opposition and score early, the longer City leave it the more time Arsenal have to come back into the tie. For City to win both halves bookies have odds of 5/6 giving more value to a win for the favourites.
Following their form of winning their previous five out of six home ties and there being over 2.5 goals scored in the games, City to win over 2.5 is priced at 8/13. For more value you could always go City to win and over 3.5 goals which has odds of 13/10. This could be tricky as if Man City go about their work early and kill the game off at 3-0, the result wouldn’t be enough to win the bet.
Having scored in his last two matches for Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely be the source of Arsenal’s goals in this game. Since his side rarely score in the first half and Man City usually do at home, first goal scorer doesn’t look promising despite odds of 17/2. However at odds over 9/4, Aubameyang to score anytime would likely be a more profitable bet.
Man City to win Both Halves (5/6)
Aubameyang to score anytime (9/4)