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It was when Mikel Arteta went down ill in March that the Premier League realised it had a serious problem. Until then, English football had muddled on with the threat of a pandemic looming not quite large enough to postpone football but the Arsenal manager’s diagnosis changed everything.
Happily, Arteta made a full recovery and he will take his place in the away dugout at the Etihad Stadium as Arsenal take on Man City as the Premier League finally returns after an enforced three month absence.
Anybody who has watched any of the action from the Bundesliga, La Liga or any of the other leagues to return to action in recent weeks will know that football without fans simply isn’t the same spectacle. However, it can still be incredibly entertaining and the standard of play across Europe has been of an impressively high standard.
There is no reason to think that Pep Guardiola’s Man City and Arteta’s improving Arsenal team will not be able to serve up an engrossing affair in Manchester on Wednesday evening.
Man City 4/11 (Unibet)
Draw 9/2 (William Hill)
Arsenal 15/2 (Paddy Power)
(Please note all odds are correct at time of article publication)
Man City’s inability to put up a sustained title challenge this season is a major blow to a club with designs on dominating the English football landscape. There is still time for them to turn this campaign around though as they are looking to add the Champions League and FA Cup to the League Cup which they won back at the start of March.
There is plenty for City’s fans and players to get excited about over the remainder of the season, however long that takes, but it’s all a little bit less exciting with regards to the rest of their Premier League campaign.
Their place in next season’s Champions League will not be decided on the pitch but in courtrooms as their appeal against the two-year ban from continental football handed out by UEFA works its way through the various appeal channels.
It’s a different situation for Arsenal who still harbour outside hopes of booking their place in the top four (or top five if City’s ban is upheld) and finally making a return to the top table of European football.
The Gunners have no time to lose if they are to achieve that goal. That means they’ll need to earn a positive result in Manchester on Wednesday evening but it’s fair to say few people believe that they will.
Arsenal had some very good form going into the enforced mid-season break but will find it tough to recapture that form with the bookies making them the rank outsiders at the Etihad. They were also very well beaten by Man City when these two locked horns at the Emirates back in December and we think Guardiola’s men will enjoy themselves again.
A bet on the home side winning a match in which over 2.5 goals are scored looks a fair price to us at 8/11 with Coral.
Man City 2-0 @ 7/1 (Ladbrokes)
Man City 2-1 @ 9/1 (bet365)
Man City 3-0 @ 9/1 (Betfred)
Man City 3-1 @ 10/1 (bet365)
Draw 1-1 @ 10/1 (Coral)
Man City 1-0 @ 12/1 (bet365)
If Man City are to win on Wednesday night they’ll have to overcome the issue that many teams in Europe have had raising their game playing at home without any fans. It will be fascinating to see how the erosion of home advantage plays out in the Premier League and you can be sure Arteta will tell his Arsenal players they have an excellent and rare opportunity to make City feel uncomfortable at the Etihad.
The Correct Score market is a good place to turn if you’re looking to capitalise on this.
Whilst we believe that the difference in quality between these two teams is big enough for Man City to live up to their billing as favourites, Arsenal possess plenty of firepower of their own. The away side should be good for a goal so the Man City 3-1 correct score is priced temptingly at 10/1 with bet365.
Sergio Aguero 14/5 (888Sport)
Gabriel Jesus 10/3 (William Hill)
Raheem Sterling 5/1 (Unibet)
Leroy Sane 6/1 (bet365)
Riyad Mahrez 6/1 (Paddy Power)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7/1 (888Sport)
Kevin De Bruyne 15/2 (bet365)
Bernado Silva 17/2 (888Sport)
Matches in the rest of the season in both domestic and European football are going to come at clubs thick and fast. The increased likelihood of players picking up soft tissue injuries means that clubs with the biggest squads will be at a significant advantage.
Man City have the deepest squad in terms of quality in the Premier League and arguably in Europe which bodes well for their chances of adding more silverware to their haul. That much is clear by the vast array of world-class attacking players in the First Goalscorer market.
You can make a case for any of the City players above scoring first with the 5/1 that Unibet are quoting on Raheem Sterling standing out as a particularly good price.
Man City to Win and Over 2.5 Goals @ 8/11 with Coral
Man City 3-1 Correct Score @ 10/1 with bet365
Raheem Sterling to Score First @ 5/1 with Unibet