Man City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night in what could be a title decider. The Gunners sit five points clear at the summit having played two more matches. They’re winless in three matches and face a City side who have won 11 successive league fixtures against Arsenal.
Man City Form
City are 16 matches unbeaten now with 13 wins and three draws. They put together a ten-match winning streak and have reached both the FA Cup final and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals that this undefeated sequence. Right now, they’re on a six-match winning streak in the league and will be Champions if they win all of their remaining fixtures.
Successive 4-1 league wins saw Liverpool (H) and Southampton (A) put to the sword. They then beat Bayern Munich 3-0 at home as they took full advantage of some defensive howlers. Before the second leg, they made light work of Leicester, leading 3-0 after 25 minutes in a 3-1 victory. After progressing in Europe by drawing 1-1 away to Bayern, they beat Sheffield United 3-0 on Saturday in the FA Cup semi-final. Riyad Mahrez netted a hat trick in that win.
Man City Team News
Phil Foden had a first outing after injury over the weekend. He won’t start this match though. Nathan Ake is a doubt in the left centre-back role and if he fails to return, then Aymeric Laporte will start. Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri, and John Stones were among those who had full rests in the FA Cup.
Pep Guardiola is set to use his now favoured 3-box-3 setup. The big decision is over who to play on the right wing. Bernardo Silva was used in that role during the Bayern Munich matches but Riyad Mahrez netted a hattrick in the last match. In all likelihood, Mahrez will return to the bench for this key clash.
Man City Motivation
City looks 100% focused and motivated for this run-in. A treble is on the cards for Pep Guardiola’s side. They know that winning all of their league matches will secure the title and a victory here means they’re just two points off Arsenal with two games in hand.
A draw is not a disaster thanks to the points dropped recently by the Gunners. City can afford to draw this fixture and still take the title with seven successive victories after that. They won’t play for a draw at one point though.
Arsenal looked in superb form, winning seven league matches in a row after their 3-1 home defeat to Man City in mid-February. They bounced back in free-scoring fashion, scoring three or more goals in wins against Aston Villa, Everton, Bournemouth, Fulham, Crystal Palace, and Leeds. The latter two matches saw 4-1 home successes.
Since then, they may have thrown away the title. Their last three fixtures have seen two points dropped in each. A 2-0 lead at West Ham turned into a 2-2 draw. And a 2-0 lead at Anfield became a fortunate 2-2 draw after allowing 3.96 xG and eight “big chances”. On Friday, they trailed 3-1 at home to Southampton but netted two late goals (88th and 90th minutes) to rescue a point.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta will be desperately hoping that William Saliba is fit to return in defence after a back injury. It seems highly unlikely that he will return, whilst fellow defender Takehiro Tomiyasu is ruled out. Rob Holding has struggled to replace Saliba and there is talk of Thomas Partey playing in the back four with Jorginho anchoring midfield.
Further forward, Granit Xhaka should be back from illness and will replace Fabio Vieira. Gabriel Jesus missed several good chances vs Southampton but should start against his former club. Leandro Trossard would again be amongst the substitutes in that case.
This feels like a must-win for Arsenal. A victory takes them eight points clear having played two more matches than City. A draw means it is out of their hands, whilst a defeat would make them outsiders for the title considering how Man City are playing.
Arteta’s side will play on the front foot as they’re not equipped to absorb pressure (especially with Saliba in the backline).
Man City have won 11 of their last 12 matches in all competitions
Man City’s Haaland has scored 14 goals in his last 7 matches
Man City have won 11 straight EPL matches vs Arsenal
Arsenal have won 7 of their last 10 EPL matches (30-13 aggregate)
Arsenal have conceded 7 goals in his last 3 Premier League fixtures
Arsenal have scored 2+ goals in 7 of their last 9 away EPL matches
City are looking in top form and have already beaten Arsenal this season. They’ve won 11 in a row vs the Gunners in the league and have Erling Haaland on fire. It’s hard to look past them taking all three points.