The Premier League returns with a bang on Wednesday evening as Manchester City and Arsenal collide at the Etihad Stadium.
It has been over three months since we last tasted live action on these shores, but reigning champions City will be headlining a blockbuster bout against top-four aspirants Arsenal, following the Aston Villa-Sheffield United curtain raiser.
The landscape will be entirely different to what we’re generally used to but those who have been watching the Bundesliga in recent weeks will already be familiar with the five-substitution rule, the subdued post-goal celebrations and, of course, the lack of fans in the stadium.
Pep Guardiola will be hoping to consolidate his side’s standing in second after conceding the title to champions-elect Liverpool, but he faces a difficult challenge in former assistant manager Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side.
The Gunners boss will be gearing his side up for an epic encounter against the City juggernaut. A win for the travellers would close the gap on current fourth-placed side Chelsea to just five points, but the Gunners are winless at the Etihad in five years. So, can Arteta break that duck on his return to the North West?
Man City vs Arsenal kick-off time and details
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Kick-off: 20:15 PM (UK time)
Where to watch Man City vs Arsenal on TV
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League
TV coverage (US): NBCSN
Man City & Arsenal’s line-ups and live stats:
Guardiola will be buoyed by the return to full fitness of Bayern Munich target Leroy Sane, who could get his first minutes of the season under his belt against Arsenal. City also welcome back Aymeric Laporte, who went off injured against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Lucas Torreira and Calum Chambers have returned to training but are unlikely to be risked this week, while Cedric Soares is hopeful of making the matchday squad.
Players to watch:
- Man City: Kevin De Bruyne. Guardiola may boast a plethora of rich talent, but De Bruyne is the ultimate difference maker in his side. The elegant Belgian is just one of two players to register 10+ assists this season and currently leads the charge in the Playmaker of the Season award (16 assists), while he has also created more chances for his teammates than any player in the division (96). The 28-year-old is quite simply irreplaceable to Guardiola and enters this game with a prodigious record against Arsenal, having racked up eight wins and just two defeats in 12 games, including four goals.
- Arsenal: Dani Ceballos. If Arsenal are to stand a chance of travelling back down to the capital with points on the board then they will have to compose themselves and match City in the middle of the park. City dominate games by asserting authority in the centre of the pitch, hogging the ball and dictating the tempo themselves. While it may prove a tall order to usurp the hosts in the middle third, they will have to be just a creative when they find the ball and unsettle City with their own patterns of play. Integral to that mission will be Ceballos. The Real Madrid loanee hasn’t quite had the impact the Gunners would have been hoping for when he arrived last summer, but under Arteta he has started to come out of his shell, and his unique creative talent could prove a deciding factor later this week.
Scoreline prediction: Man City 2-1 Arsenal
Premier League 2019/20 recent form:
- Man City: LWWLW
- Arsenal: WWWDW