On April eighth, Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. When the fixture computer spat this game out last summer it looked like it could be a game to decide the title. Now that it’s here it turns out to be just another game in the hunt for the top four.
Arsenal are three points away from securing their place in the Premier League’s top four, while City have some work to do. A loss to Arsenal could open the door to both Manchester United and West Ham United to slip in and pip City to fourth place. They may have made it to the competitions semi finals this year, but participation in next years Champions League is far from a certainty for Manchester City.
Manchester City will be without a few key players. First and foremost they’ll be missing their captain, Vincent Kompany, after he picked up another muscle injury in the game against Real Madrid. On top of that, they’ll be missing David Silva, Aleksander Kolorov, and Pablo Zabaleta, according to Manuel Pellegrini.
Arsenal will be without two players for this one. Per Mertesacker will miss out after injuring his hamstring against Norwich. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also miss out after suffering an injury set back that will keep him out for the rest of the season and Euro 2016, according to Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last four league games against Manchester City, winning the last two. According to ESPNFC, Manchester City have won just six points in 13 games against the current Premier League top eight, with their one win coming at home to Southampton in November. Manchester City have scored 45 goals at home this season, 10 more than any other team in the Premier League. At least two goals have been scored between these two sides in each of their last seven meetings. The last meeting with fewer than two goals came in April 2012 when Arsenal won 1-0 courtesy of a long distance strike from Mikel Arteta.
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
Manchester City have struggled for the majority of this season, especially since the turn of the year. Yet, they’re always a scary match up because they have the best striker in the league, Sergio Aguero. The Argentine may have missed out on the team of the season, but he has the best strike rate in the league with 0.79 non penalty goals per 90 minutes well ahead of Harry Kane in second with 0.57 non penalty goals per 90, according to Squakwa. Aguero is an elite goalscorer and makes Manchester City a terrifying match up for all opposition defenses.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
Alexis has struggled at times this season for Arsenal and was looking like a victim of second season syndrome after his fantastic debut season. However, a good run of form lately has made his season look a bit better. The Chilean has scored five goals in his last six games and has scored three of Arsenal’s last four goals. He is a star and one of the reasons Arsenal’s expectations are more than to get top four. But for now, he’ll need to come up big and help the Gunners secure their top four spot.
This seems like a match Manchester City would normally have the edge in. However, their abysmal record against the top teams this season combined with their midweek fixture in Spain, and their general malaise in the second half of the season opens the door for Arsenal. In the end, it looks like a match neither team wants to lose and will end up in a draw.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw