Manchester City and Arsenal go head-to-head when the 2019/20 Premier League season resumes on June 17. Can City maintain their grip on second place in the table by claiming all three points or can Arsenal give their top-six chances a shot in the arm with an upset victory?
Manchester City set an incredible standard as they won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017/18 and 2018/19, following up a 100-point campaign in 17/18 with a 98-point showing last time round that saw them edge Liverpool to the English crown by just one point, but they have fallen well short of that standard this time around and are a massive 25 points behind the Merseyside giants as the season resumed. City will merely try to delay the inevitable when they return to action on Wednesday night, but can they do it?
Providing the opposition are an Arsenal side who have endured a season to forget as they try to work out life after Arsene Wenger. Unai Emery’s failed reign was brought to an end earlier this season and his replacement, former City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, will now be well aware of the job that he is facing as he tries to make the Gunners a force in English football once again. They are down in ninth place in the table as the season resumes and although they are not a million miles off the European qualifying spots, it is difficult to see them breaking into the top six between now and the end of the season. I certainly do not see them boosting their cause with an upset win over Manchester City here.
There will inevitably be questions about whether or not rustiness could play a factor in this one, but we have seen the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund pick up from where they left off over in Germany and I am confident that Manchester City will do the same here.
After all, just look at their recent record against Arsenal (look away now, Gooners). City have won each of their last six meetings with Arsenal in all competitions and not only have they been winning those games, they have been winning them in comfortable fashion. During this six-game streak they have out-scored the Gunners 17-2, scoring three times in all but one of those meetings, and they have erased a one-goal handicap every single time. Could we see more of the same? I believe so.
Arsenal do possess one of the best strikers in the whole of the Premier League in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the goals have not exactly flowed for him against the top six and that spells trouble for the Gunners because no other player has managed to hit double figures for top-flight goals this season. Only Alex Lacazette has managed more than four goals. Therefore a clean sheet is a real possibility for a Manchester City team who have shut out the opposition in five of their last seven competitive victories and have blanked Arsenal in four of their last five outings.
The big question is how many will City get at the other end? Having netted 17 times during this win streak over the Gunners you would expect to see a few goals again here, but I am wary of getting too carried away. While I would not be shocked to see City race out of the blocks with a victory, there is some need for wariness because we do not know how individual teams will respond to the sudden two-month shutdown. That makes the Correct Score Combinations market an appealing one, with Manchester City to win 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1, at an enhanced 5/2, a tempting option because it covers multiple outcomes. If City are rusty and grind it out this bet can win, and if City turn it on against Arsenal like they have tended to then that is covered too. Four of City’s last five wins over the Gunners have come via one of the scorelines featured in this bet, and that could be the case again on Wednesday night.