Football Previews

Five things we think will happen in Man City v Arsenal

By Ben Green

Published: 19:56, 17 July 2020 | Updated: 16:06, 20 July 2020

Arsenal and Manchester City often produce a spectacle when they take to the field, and this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final clash has the potential to be another blockbuster occasion.

Saturday’s meeting at Wembley is a big one. Reigning champions versus most successful club. Pep Guardiola will be looking to mirror last month’s 3-0 win and secure a domestic double to sooth the pain of conceding the Premier League title to Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta meanwhile will be hoping to rectify June’s debacle at the Etihad and end a seven-match losing run against the Citizens. The record 13-time winners of this competition will be full of confidence following their recent win over the league champions on Wednesday.

  • Arsenal confirmed XI: Martinez, Mustafi, David Luiz, Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
  • Man City confirmed XI: Ederson, Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus

Here are five things we expect to happen at Wembley…

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All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of writing (19:30, 17/07/2020)

1. Kevin De Bruyne will get on the scoresheet

The Belgian playmaker was kept on ice against Bournemouth in midweek, which can only mean one thing: Guardiola was saving him for the weekend. That does not bode well for Arteta, who struggled to contain him during last month’s capitulation in which De Bruyne was on the scoresheet.

Worryingly for the Londoners, De Bruyne has quite the prodigious record against them. He has won more games (nine wins in 13 matches) and scored more goals (five) against Arsenal then any other club across his career, stretching back to his Chelsea days, including three in his last two.

Gooners must be sick of the sight of him, which has to be hard given just how enjoyable he is to watch. De Bruyne leads the charts this season for most Premier League assists (18), closing in on Thierry Henry’s record for a single campaign (20), and is the only player to hit triple digits for chances created (120), more than Arsenal‘s top three creators combined.

Arteta, still bleary-eyed from that City defeat, must revisit the chalk board and devise a plan capable of stifling Guardiola’s talismanic force in midfield. That, of course, is easier said than done, and we fully expect De Bruyne to capitalise on a full seven days’ rest, and once again expose the flaws in Arsenal’s defence.

Relevant 888sport odds:

  • Kevin De Bruyne first goalscorer: 13/2
  • Kevin De Bruyne last goalscorer: 13/2
  • Kevin De Bruyne to score: 37/20
  • Kevin De Bruyne to score at least two goals: 23/2

2. Man City will extend their winning run against Arsenal

Even if David Luiz channels his inner Steve Bould and produces one of his best performances in the red and white, Arsenal still face an monumental task to navigate their way to the final. In recent seasons the Gunners have been bruised, bloodied and humiliated against the north-west club and there are little signs of that narrative shifting in this match.

The Guardiola-Arteta dugout duel once again offers an intriguing subplot to this match, but the former will have his sights firmly set on clinching a seventh major trophy for City, which should give him incentive enough to go for the jugular and make it eight straight wins over Arsenal for the Citizens.

In fact, the Gunners‘ last win against City came at this stage of the FA Cup in 2017, en route to their 13th title against Chelsea. However, since then it has been pure Sky Blue domination, with the Manchester club racking up seven successive wins and 20 goals while conceding just twice.

Relevant 888sport odds:

  • Manchester City to win by Full Time: 8/25
  • Manchester City to go through: 2/15
  • Manchester City to be winning at Half Time: 4/6

3. Arsenal will get more cards than City

This is a matchup that usually guarantees cards galore. In the Premier League games this campaign there have been seven yellows and one red. City are masters in the dark art of cynical fouls, while the Gunners have amassed more yellow cards than any other club in the league this season (79).

With players like Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira on the pitch, cards are usually a foregone conclusion, and Guardiola will certainly look to exploit that. City play such slick, rhythmic football that Arteta will want his midfield enforcers to disrupt their patterns of play, by hook or by crook.

That leads to one probable conclusion: a multitude of bookings for the Gunners. The Wembley occasion can also play a part in an adrenaline-fuelled match, even without the prospect of 90-odd thousand fans baying for blood. If Arsenal lose their concentration for even a millisecond, City will run through, and Arteta will have no qualms about his players taking one for the team.

Relevant 888sport odds:

  • Most cards Arsenal: 6/5
  • Arsenal Total Cards over 2.5: 4/9
  • Arsenal given a Red Card Yes: 8/1

4. Both teams will score

In 24 matches since Arteta stepped into the Arsenal frame his side have fired a blank of just two occasions. One of those was against City in the aforementioned 3-0 reversal and the other was in a tame stalemate at Turf Moor against a defensively formidable Burnley side. In short, Arteta’s teething issues are not with his side’s inability to find the back of the net, they seem to do pretty well in that department.

And City, as we know, are a goalscoring magnet, so expect both ‘keepers to be picking the ball out from the back of the net in this contest. The Gunners, under Arteta, have shown they can tussle with the heavyweights; they have scored eight goals in five games against the traditional ‘Big Six’ with the Spaniard at the helm.

Guardiola’s protege has been trying to dispel any sense that Arsenal are a flat-track bully under his tenure, and City should be cautious. The Sky Blues are all-but guaranteed to find the back of the net in any game, on any day of the week, and against and Arsenal rearguard as tempestuous and volatile as Arteta’s, they should have no problems once again.

But, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the bench against Liverpool so he will enter this match relatively fresh, while Alexandre Lacazette has just started to find his scoring boots, with three in his last four, including against Wolves, Liverpool and Spurs. Expect a goal-feast here.

Relevant 888sport odds:

  • Both Teams to Score Yes: 7/10
  • Total Goals over 3.5: 11/10
  • Manchester City to win and both teams to score Yes: 31/20

5. There will be corners. A lot of corners.

With such attacking ferocity on both sides, particularly in the wide areas, there are guaranteed to be a plethora of corners. City boast lightning quick full-backs, and look to exploit the wide areas frequently, meaning the ball with spend a huge portion of time on the flanks in the attacking third.

Arsenal too have a propensity to utilise the channels, with attacking full-backs Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney spending a considerable chunk of most matches bombing up and down the touchline and offering overlaps, which again leads to the ball finding a lot of time in the final third wide areas.

City and Arsenal both boast high metrics for corners won this season in the Premier League. Guardiola’s side lead the charts on 281 corners, while Arsenal sit fourth with 218. Taking that into consideration expect the ball to be spending plenty of time in the four corner quadrants at Wembley.

Relevant 888sport odds:

  • Over 10.5 corners: 10/13
  • Man City most corners: 1/9
  • Arsenal most corners: 7/1


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