The Apprentice Takes on the Master as Arteta Faces Guardiola

Last updated: June 17, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Wednesday, 20:15
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: WLWWL
Away Form: DDWWW
Last Meeting: Arsenal 0 – 3 Man City
Competition: EPL

The best league in the world is finally back and with games coming at a fair pace of knots, cancel all your plans and enjoy a summer of football. The first big-six showdown post lockdown is a mouth-watering clash between the master Pep Guardiola against his young Padawan Mikel Arteta.

The trust shown by Guardiola towards Arteta was laudable as just six months after his appointment as Manchester City assistant manager, the former Arsenal play-maker was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the City squad to face Arsenal’s visit to the Etihad. Three short years later, Pep must counter the threat of Arteta and all the inside information he has on his former employer.

City’s reign as Premier League champions is almost over, Liverpool needing just two wins to secure their first Premier League title. This figure is reduced to one if Arsenal beat City tonight. City will play for pride, happy to delay Liverpool’s celebration for as long as possible, but in reality, their focus is more on winning the Champions League.

They won the first leg in the last 16 Champions League against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has already expressed his intention to take advantage of a new rule change that sees the number of substitutions allowed during a game increase from three to five. City faces a gruelling four matches in 12 days, and long-term injuries are a real fear for the 49-year-old.

Despite being second in the league, City has failed to replicate their astonishing form of last year in which consistency was key to claiming the title with 98 points, just one ahead of champions-elect Liverpool. They lost only four games in the previous campaign; they are already on seven defeats with eight games remaining. The Citizens have struggled to keep hold of the lead, worrying as tonight’s opponents are masters of coming back from losing positions. It should be fun!

Arsenal is the only unbeaten Premier League side in 2020 keeping three clean sheets in the last four games. Their opponents have beaten them in each of the last six and have a poor record at the Etihad, losing each of the previous three trips. Another worry is their miserable 25 away games against the top six without a victory, the last time they claimed victory at the Etihad was back in January 2015 when they won 2-0.

Arsenal has suffered from a three years hiatus from the Champions League with fans having to make do with Europa League football. Their opponents ban from the Champions League, if upheld, will see the fifth spot rewarded with qualification for Europe’s premier competition. They currently sit five points behind fifth but have a game in hand.

Lacazette was getting back to his best before the enforced break in football, managing three goals in the last four. The Frenchman bounced back after being benched by the sparkling Eddie Nketiah as the preferred starter. The main threat, however, continues to be the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The 30-year-old has the best record for both sides with 40.6% shots on target and 0.25 shots per goal. These numbers are way better than City’s South American Maestro Sergio Aguero.

It is always defensively that you worry about with Arsenal and the backline is likely to be tested in the coming weeks with games against Liverpool, Tottenham, and Leicester City yet to come. However, the new man has improved the team defensively. Under Unai Emery, they conceded an average of 1.45 goals per game, but the new Spaniard in charge has seen this fall to 0.8 goals conceded per game, signalling quite an improvement.

Arsenal have been on a good run with two draws and three consecutive wins coming to this match. It is the team’s away form that could ultimately decide their season. In the 2017-18 season, the Gunners won just four times away from home, last season they improved to seven. This season the tally is only two wins. Considering the next six of the ten games for Arsenal are away from home they will have to improve on this tally if they hope to challenge for European places.

Team News

Man City have a full squad with Leroy Sane return from a long knee injury, and Aymeric Laporte set to be fully fit after an injury-hit season.

Pep Guardiola is set to go against his former assistant manager and new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for the first time.

Ninth placed Arsenal are eight points away from the final Champions League spot which is currently held by Chelsea.

Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s highest-profile player winning the Golden Boot last season, he, however, is reluctant to sign a new contract.

Expected Line-Ups:

Man City (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy, Rodri, Guendogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, B.Silva, Aguero
Subs: Bravo, Otamendi, D.Silva, Jesus, Foden, Sterling, Laporte, Sane
Not available:
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Mari, Saka, Ceballos, Xhaka, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Subs: Martinez, Guendouzi, Mustafi, Holding, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Martinelli, Kolasnic
Doubtful: Tierney, Chambers, Torreira
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Man City This Season Arsenal This Season
2nd League Position 9th
18 (9) Wins (away) 9 (2)
8 – 0 v Watford Biggest Win 4 – 0 v Newcastle
3 (1) Draws (away) 13 (7)
1 – 3 v Liverpool Biggest Defeat 0 – 3 v Man City
Aguero (16) Top Goal Scorer Aubameyang (17)
Y51, R3 Discipline Y63, R3
3 Failures to Score 5
36% Clean Sheets 25%
54% Both Teams to Score Games 64%
71% Over 2.5 Goals 54%
29% Under 2.5 Goals 46%
  • Arsenal has played against Man City 46 times. The Gunners have been the dominant team with 22 wins; City has 16 wins and eight of the games ended as a draw.
  • Man City have won the last six matches in this fixture by two goals or more and have kept a clean sheet in four of the six.
  • Not the best defensive teams. City has managed just five clean sheets, one more than Arsenal’s four.
  • The hosts have scored an average of 2.54 goals per game compared to Arsenal’s 1.86.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
15/12/2019 EPL Arsenal 0 – 3 Man City De Bruyne 2’
03/02/2019 EPL Man City 3 – 1 Arsenal Aguero 1’
12/08/2018 EPL Arsenal 0 – 2 Man City Sterling 14′
01/03/2018 EPL Arsenal 0 – 3 Man City B.Silva 15’
25/02/2018 EPL Arsenal 0 – 3 Man City Aguero 18’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

A 100-day gap since the last Premier League game means that recent form means virtually nothing in this fixture. City certainly has the quality; the only question mark is whether they have the desire with the Premier League title almost certainly travelling down the M62 to Liverpool and the Champions League a more realistic prospect.

Arsenal should have no issues with motivation, they are unbeaten this year, and three points against the champions will put them within touching distance of a fifth-place finish which could lead to Champions League qualification.

With both teams prone to leaking goals, a high-scoring game seems likely. You can get both sides to score yes and over four goals in the match combined using a Bet Builder at bet365 with odds of 11/4. Anytime goalscorer Aubameyang could also prove a useful side bet.