This afternoon at The Etihad sees two teams with title aspirations go head to head as Manchester City play host to Arsenal but that also means with these two sides going head to head that one or even possibly both are going to lose further ground to Chelsea in the race for this season’s Premier League title.
Manchester City are currently fourth in the table and find themselves a position and a point behind today’s visitors and they know that a win would take them up to 2nd for at least 24 hours what with Liverpool not featuring until Tomorrow night when thy face Everton in the Meryseyside Derby at Goodison Park.
They come into this game off the back of a 2-0 win over Watford on Wednesday night. It wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory and it wasn’t necessarily a vintage City performance either but after the drubbing they received at the hands of Leicester last Saturday, Pep Guardiola would have just been glad that his side had returned to winning ways.
And with Chelsea conquering all before them right now both City and Arsenal know that they can’t afford to drop anymore points right now. A statement that is possibly more prevalent for Arsenal after defeat to the hands of Everton on Tuesday night. A loss that meant after the 16th round of fixtures they were 6 points behind their crosstown rivals Chelsea.
When Alexis Sanchez but The Gunners ahead on Tuesday night it looked like it was going to be another routine win for the North London side but Seamus Coleman’s goal to level matters just before the break turned the complexion of the game and Arsenal knew they were going to have to dig in after the restart.
In front of a partisan Goodison, Arsenal failed to kick on and were punished by Ashley Williams header late on to give Everton all three points. Although there was still time for even more drama when in almost farcical scenes Petr Cech found himself in the opposition’s area while Arsenal had two efforts cleared off the line with Cech then facing a race back to his own area to make sure Everton didn’t put salt in the wounds.
There wasn’t to be a goal at either end but it did mean that Arsenal suffered their second defeat of the season. Both those defeats have come at the hands of Merseyside opposition with Liverpool being the only other side to get the better of them after that sensational blitz of goals which ultimately led to a 4-3 win on the opening weekend of the season.
The question is now whether or not Arsenal can bounce back from midweek disappointment to throw another spanner in the works of City’s title hopes. They will certainly be confident having not lost any of the last 6 league encounters between these two sides with the last defeat coming during that 6-3 Etihad trouncing 3 years ago.
Arsenal have had City’s number as of late and much will be made of the tactical battle between Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola but with City once again having to do without Sergio Aguero and Arsenal Alexis Sanchez in imperious form as of late I think it gives The Gunners the advantage this afternoon even though they are away from home.
I think we will see goals from both sides but I think Arsenal will edge this one especially as City’s defence is still one that hasn’t ironed out it’s kinks and that is something that Alexis Sanchez will take full advantage this afternoon. I’ll go for an away win as Arsenal just about stay in the title race for now and City could very well be 5th by the end if other results go against them.