Manchester City v Arsenal Tips: Back Arteta to pile more pressure on Pep at the Etihad
Mikel Arteta returns to the Etihad with his Arsenal side looking to pick up where they left off before the international break. The Gunners have started well this term, losing just one of their opening four league games against reigning champions Liverpool, with their last outing coming in the shape of a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.
By contrast, Manchester City have been poor by their usually high standards. Wins over Wolves and Burnley have been clouded by a 5-2 defeat to Leicester in September, and last time out they were held by Leeds United in a thrilling contest at Elland Road, despite taking the lead in that game.
The Cityzens’ inconsistent start has seen them slip behind Liverpool in the Premier League winner betting market, after beginning the campaign as odds-on favourites (now 6/4).
Indeed, they are still firm favourites to win this clash, priced at 2/5 with most firms - an implied probability of 71% offered by the bookmakers. Arsenal, meanwhile, are an 11/2 fancy, giving them an implied 15% chance of victory according to the odds.
City will be hoping that their influential midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is fit for this one, after the playmaker limped off in Belgium’s 2-1 defeat to England last weekend and subsequently withdrew from international duty earlier this week. Reports in the media suggest that the issue is fitness-based rather than muscular which is good news for the hosts, though KDB does still remain a doubt for this one at this stage.
Alongside De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus still remains sidelined through injury so will not feature, while long-term absentee Sergio Aguero is unlikely to start as he continues to regain fitness following a lengthy lay-off. The Argentine has resumed training, though, so his reintroduction to the matchday squad is expected to come this weekend.
Raheem Sterling missed England’s recent triple-header with a minor hamstring injury and is expected to return for this one, though it is not a guarantee that he will play.
Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney is unlikely to feature after he came into contact with Covid-positive Stuart Armstrong whilst away on international duty. The Scottish full-back is currently self-isolating which means he’ll most likely miss this game. Elsewhere, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli are all ruled out through injury, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a slight doubt after he picked up an ankle knock against Sheffield United.
The Gabon international has returned to training, however, so it’s likely that we will see him in action this weekend.
My three football tips for the game can be found listed below, but please always remember to gamble responsibly.
- Arsenal or draw (double chance) - 9/5 @ Paddy Power
- Benjamin Mendy to be booked & over 2.5 match goals - 5/1 @ Betfair
- Hector Bellerin to be booked & Willian to have 2+ shots on target - 26/1 @ Paddy Power
- City have looked shaky so far this season and could be without talisman Kevin de Bruyne for this clash
- Arsenal have started brightly and I expect the addition of Thomas Partey to massively strengthen them in midfield
My first tip is a simple one: Arsenal to win or draw the match in the double chance market at 9/5.
The Gunners have enjoyed a tremendous start to their campaign with three wins in four and Mikel Arteta looks to have his side playing some really eye-pleasing football, dubbed 'Arteta-ball' by the Arsenal faithful. The Spaniard looks to have really changed the dynamic at the Emirates, and the feel-good factor seems well and truly reinstated.
The task in hand this weekend will be far from easy, however. City are one of the best, well-rounded teams in world football but they haven't started the campaign as strongly as they would have liked, showing signs of defensive frailties having conceded in each of their first three games - including five in one game against Leicester last month.
Pep's title-hopefuls are still the firm bookmaker favourites heading into this one at 2/5 which to me offers very little value given their recent results. Arteta could provide his former colleague with some more headaches on Saturday evening - especially if star men Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling do miss this clash through injury - and while a win may be a stretch away from home, there is every chance of a draw here.
- Mendy has been cautioned twice already this season - the most of all City players this season
- Is always prone to a late challenge and up against the speed of Arsenal's front-line could fall victim to another late tackle
- Two incredibly attack-minded sides, there has been more than one goal scored in 11 of the 13 last meetings between City & Arsenal (all comps)
With two incredibly attack-minded sides in action, I can foresee goals in this one. The history book suggests that over 2.5 will be the play at the Etihad - with 11 of the last 13 games between these two sides resulting in more than two goals being scored overall.
City are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league while Arsenal have only managed one in their opening day win over rock-bottom Fulham. Fresh and recharged from an international break, both sides will be going hammer and tong in the hope of kicking things back off with a win, which should result in plenty of goals.
Doubling this 5/1 fancy up I'm backing Benjamin Mendy to be booked. No City player has been cautioned more than the Frenchman this season (two in three games) and having watched him on countless occasions it continues to amaze me how rash he is in the challenge.
Up against the likes of Nicolas Pepe or Willian, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, there are going to be so many opportunities for Mendy to make another stupid tackle here which will hopefully see him pick up his third yellow of the season.
- Bellerin is Arsenal's most-booked player this season with 2 yellows and has often been exposed by quick attackers
- Willian's price of 4/1 for two shots on target is too good to turn down given what an attacking threat he is and the fact he's on free-kick duty
Rounding off my trio of bets is the longshot, priced at a juicy 26/1 by Paddy Power.
I'll start with Willian to register two or more shots on target, priced at 4/1 just as a single which I think represents tremendous value given the fact he is on free-kick duty for the Gunners and rarely misses the target from dead ball situations within shooting range.
I'm anticipating plenty of firm challenges in this one which will hopefully see plenty of free-kicks given around the penalty area, so if the Brazilian can get one one/two of those then that will give this leg of the selection a real boost. The former Chelsea man is such a threat in the final third and is never afraid to wind up a shot from distance - hopefully he'll fire plenty away on Saturday.
Doubling this up I'm going with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin to be booked. The ex-Barcelona defender is his club's most-booked player this season with two yellows to his name so far, and up against the speed and intensity of City's forward line - especially if Sterling features here - I think he could fall victim to a late challenge and subsequent booking.
The man in the middle for this one is Chris Kavanagh, who is the Premier League's most card-happy ref this season with 13 yellows awarded, so fingers crossed he continues with his strictness and takes no prisoners when it comes to petulant fouls.