Arsenal’s slight dip in form, dropping points against mediocre sides in their past two matches, has created an opportunity for Manchester City, and an absolutely fantastic fixture for neutral fans; first place versus second, separated by just three points. Arsenal have a game in hand, but it’s not hard to imagine a winner of this game going on to win the league, with Wednesday’s clash a major moment in their path. The best Arsenal Vs. Manchester City prediction is over 2.5 goals. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this momentous occasion.
Arsenal vs. Manchester City Prediction & Pick
After their fixture in October was postponed due to the ripple effect on scheduling in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, it’s been a long wait to see the top two teams in England meet up in the Prem. We got a bit of an appetizer in the FA Cup, a match at the Etihad that City won 1-0. Now, we’ll finally get to see a clash that will impact the final standings in what is becoming a thrilling title race, between legendary manager Pep Guardiola and his former star student Mikel Arteta.
Not long ago, it didn’t seem that it would be quite so tight. But thanks to another controversial VAR incident on Saturday, the Gunners were limited to a draw, and City capitalized on the opportunity to draw closer on the table. That being said, the Sky Blues squandered a similar opportunity a week ago; they lost 1-0 to Spurs after Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat of their own against relegation-threatened Everton. So while these are clearly the two best English teams this season, neither is perfect or in unstoppable form, and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out strong in such a pivotal moment.
This is a tough one to call, these are extremely evenly-matched sides, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any end of the three-way moneyline hit. That being said, I’ll have to go with draw +255 as the value pick. With the ambiguity of Erling Haaland’s health, and the absence of the ever-clutch John Stones, it’s hard to pick City to earn such a massive road win. At the same time, Arsenal’s form doesn’t suggest an emphatic performance is forthcoming from their end either. Goalscoring is a tough one too; both teams have the ability to score and this match should get wide open, but it’s hard to emphatically slam the over when their last meeting turned out 1-0. I’m going to take over 2.5 goals at -120, but I’d hardly call it a slam dunk.
Prediction: 2.5 goals at -120
Arsenal vs. Manchester City Odds
At home, Arsenal are +190 underdogs, while the draw is set at +255 and Man City are narrow favorites at +140. For a goalscoring line of 2.5, the over is narrowly favored at -120 while the under is even money.
Arsenal Attack vs. City Defense
Arsenal’s outstanding midfield has already been discussed ad nauseam, so let’s take a look at the attack, a group that has been a bit more of a moving target. Gabriel Jesus was a breakout star earlier this year, but he hasn’t played in the Premier League since before the World Cup, as he’s picked up an injury. Eddie Nketiah has picked up some big goals in relief, most notable a tremendous brace against Manchester United, but he’s been pretty inconsistent. Bukayo Saka has been unquestionably the team’s best forward, if not player, as he’s really settled into a full-time role on the right wing. Lastly, on the left, Gabriel Martinelli has been solid this year, but Arsenal fans were surely still happy to see newcomer Leandro Trossard come off of the bench against Brentford and score his first goal in red; he could be a major contributor in this match and down the line.
With Stones unavailable, City lose an important veteran leader, but they have plenty of talent to fill the gaps. It’s hard to predict how Guardiola will handle his defensive lineup, as he has recently experimented with stacked right backs and other variations off of a back three, but the back line could feature any combination of centre-backs Aymeric Laporte, Rúben Dias, and Manuel Akanji, while one or more of the versatile Nathan Aké (who scored the winner against Arsenal in the FA Cup), speedy fullback Kyle Walker, and youngster Rico Lewis could be part of the lineup as well. City’s new formation could hurt them in this match; they need width to counteract Arsenal’s wing-heavy attack. But it’s impossible to know exactly what Pep has cooked up; we’ll have to wait and see on Wednesday.
City Attack vs. Arsenal Defense
The biggest question about City’s attack, and perhaps about the entire game, is the health of Golden Boot leader Erling Haaland, who left Sunday’s match at halftime with an apparent injury. While there’s reason to believe he’ll be able to fight through and contribute in a massive match like this one, it’s hard to really know how much time he’ll be able to spend on the pitch, and how effective he’ll be. If he is absent for some or all of the match, I’d expect Julián Álvarez to take the spot up top, as he’s played very well lately. Outside of the striker position, City will be looking for big performances out of Riyad Mahrez, who has finally found some strong form, and as always in moments like these, superstar attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
Haaland or not, City’s forwards will have to contend with centre-backs Gabriel and William Saliba, who together comprise the focal point of what has been an excellent Arsenal defense. The fullbacks, Oleksandr Zinchenko on the left and Ben White on the right, have also been playing some of their best football, especially White who has clearly settled in more and more as the season has gone along. This back line has had some up and down performances lately- especially goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who is in a bit of a rut- but they’ll surely need to be at their best to defend the Emirates and take home all three points against the defending champs.