After the international break, the Premier League returns with a mouthwatering match on Saturday evening as Man City take on Arsenal.
This is the first meeting between the pair since last season’s FA Cup semi-final and once again will see Pep Guardiola lock horns with his former assistant Mikel Arteta. The Gunners enter this game a massive 10 places and five points ahead of City in the table, although Guardiola’s men have a game in hand. Both sides will be out to catch up with table-topping Everton in this crunch clash.
But how will the match go? Who if anyone will go home with the spoils? We’ve had a look for William Hill and come up with five things we think will happen at the Etihad Stadium.
Premier League title odds with William Hill:
- Liverpool: 5/4
- Man City: 6/4
- Chelsea: 14/1
- Spurs: 16/1
- Everton: 18/1
- Arsenal: 25/1
- Man Utd: 40/1
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of publication (11:50, 17/10/2020). BeGambleAware.
1. Arsenal predicted line-up (it’s Partey time):
Thomas Partey was Arsenal’s shock deadline day signing. After pursuing him all summer, the Gunners activated his release clause in the final few hours to bring the Ghanaian to north London. The midfielder is a serious talent and could very well make his introduction this weekend.
Mikel Arteta could throw him straight into the XI alongside Granit Xhaka. Partey is a midfielder of exceptional ability and should allow the likes of Xhaka or Dani Ceballos to be even more effective in the middle of the park.
Further back, Arsenal will have Bernd Leno in goal as well as a typical back three, with Kieran Tierney expected to be involved, and he could line up alongside David Luiz and Gabriel.
Elsewhere, Maitland-Niles is a reliable big-game performer so expect him to line-up opposite Hector Bellerin at wing-back, and the attack will be the three veteran forwards Willian, Alexandre Lacazette and star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Predicted Arsenal line-up: Leno; Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Partey, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
2. A surprise Man City line-up:
You may have heard: when it comes to his line-up, Guardiola has a tendency to overthink things. This will not change against Arsenal, especially as City lost the last meeting between the two and haven’t won in their previous two Premier League matches.
To that end, and given how well Arsenal’s 3-4-3 counters Guardiola’s typical formation, Pep will flex his tactical muscles and change to a 3-5-2 with no strikers on the field (due to Sergio Aguero’s lack of match sharpness, he should start on the bench).
Ederson will keep goal ahead of a back three consisting of Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake. These three will be tasked with defending the width of the pitch as City push wing-backs Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo forward as wingers to provide the side’s width.
In the middle Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan should start (with no Kevin De Bruyne, who is a confirmed absentee), while ahead of them Raheem Sterling (fitness permitting) and Phil Foden will be the “forwards” but essentially this system will be strikerless and see Sterling, Foden and Bernardo take turns as the side’s foremost attacker.
Predicted Man City line-up: Ederson; Dias, Laporte, Ake; Walker, Gundogan, Rodri, Silva, Cancelo; Foden, Sterling
3. Aubameyang to get back among the goals
Pierré “signed the ting” on 15th September after a run of eight goals in six competitive games led Arsenal to some colossal wins and two trophies. However since confirming he is staying at Arsenal, the striker has failed to score in three games.
Now, alright, you could forgive him for going goalless at Anfield but home wins over Sheffield United and West Ham were prime situations for the Gabonese to celebrate his new contract in style, yet he didn’t.
That changes at the Etihad. Aubameyang massacred City on the break in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final win, and he’ll do it again. His pace and movement will catch City out early on as they get to grips with their new formation.
Unfortunately it’s probably too late for Aubameyang to celebrate by miming his signature or something.
4. Aguero to the rescue!
City should start strikerless because Aguero isn’t fully fit, but the Argentine has been training for two weeks now. Having their record goalscorer available will be a huge boon for Guardiola’s men, because without the ability to score goals (or at least constantly threaten to score goals) the passing and pressing high-defensive line system breaks down entirely.
So if City do go down to Aubameyang and Arsenal, Aguero should come off the bench in the second half and be the catalyst for a comeback. He might not score (although given he has 11 goals in 15 appearances against the Gunners, he’ll probably score) but his presence in the penalty box will cause enough havoc that City will be able to fight their way back into the game.
Enhanced odds from William Hill:
- Aubameyang to score first: 13/2 (was 11/2)
- Aubameyang to have over one shot on target: 5/2 (was 2/1)
5. City to win
Manchester City were sucker-punched against Leicester and in their battle with Leeds just didn’t take their chances to push on and win a thrilling contest. With the return of Aguero as well as the motivation to get revenge for last season’s FA Cup semi-final, City will be laser-focused when Arsenal come to town.
And as much fun as their FA Cup clash was last season, City haven’t lost to Arsenal with Aguero fit since before Guardiola’s reign. The Gunners’ last win at the Etihad was way back in January 2015, so it was already hard to see them picking up a result here even if they have dramatically improved under Arteta.
But when you take everything into account, even the fact City are currently 14th with a -1 goal difference, it’s hard to look past Manchester City beating Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
Match result odds with William Hill:
- Man City: 4/9
- Draw: 19/5
- Arsenal: 11/2
Spurs vs West Ham: Betting offer
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