Manchester City need to put together a perfect final stretch of the campaign to hold onto the Premier League trophy, starting with the visit of Arsenal to the Etihad on Sunday (11:30am ET).
Pep Guardiola was quick to highlight the challenge that now awaits his side in their final 14 matches of the season in the wake of a 1-2 defeat away to Newcastle on Tuesday that allowed Liverpool to open up a five-point advantage at the top of the table.
Man City seemed to be on course for a comfortable victory after going ahead through Sergio Aguero inside the opening 30 seconds but were unable to turn good attacking territory into further goals. Their hosts equalized not long past the hour mark and then took all three points from the penalty spot following a clumsy bit of play from Fernandinho.
It was a slightly weary performance, with Guardiola admitting afterwards that his side had been unable to find their usual rhythm. It wasn’t the first time that has been the case over the last couple of months. After going undefeated through their first 15 matches of the campaign, with 13 wins and two draws, City have lost four of their last nine.
So they now find themselves in a position where they realistically need to win pretty every match between now and the end of the campaign. They will also hope Liverpool, who were unable to take full advantage of Man City’s defeat by only drawing 1-1 at home to Leicester in midweek, might starting losing and drawing quite a few more matches. They can only pray that the return of the Champions League this month distracts their rivals more than them.
There is still a chance. City are the most potent attacking force in the league, with Aguero and Raheem Sterling leading the way, and also have the second-best defence. Last season, they went on a 18-match winning streak between August and December. They cannot afford any further slip-ups, despite having four matches against top-six opposition still to come.
Arsenal are first up. They lost 0-2 to City at the Emirates on the opening day of the season, with Sterling and Bernardo Silva scoring the goals, but haven’t lost there since. A strong home record of 10 wins and two draws thereafter has powered their quest for a top-four finish. They recorded their sixth straight win there in a 2-1 triumph over Cardiff on Tuesday.
Unai Emery’s side struggled to break their visitors down during the first half, but got the break they needed just past the hour when Alexandre Lacazette was upended inside the area. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted the resulting penalty and then Lacazette added an ultimately decisive goal later on, prior to Cardiff pulling one back in injury time.
With Manchester United dropping points at home to Burnley and Chelsea thrashed away at Bournemouth, it was a result that saw Arsenal edge up into fourth on goal difference. That is, though, a position they will likely struggle to maintain unless they can improve their away form. As impressive as they have been at home, they have been just as unimpressive away.
The Gunners travel to the Etihad having lost three and failed to win in any of their last five away matches in the Premier League. They were thrashed 1-5 by Liverpool in their final match of 2018 and are yet to keep a clean sheet away from the Emirates. They have been unable to establish control, leading to back-and-forth slugfests like their 2-3 loss to Chelsea, 3-2 win against Cardiff and 2-2 draws with both Crystal Palace and Manchester United.
That could prove be a deadly weakness against a side with as strong an attack as City’s. They have defeated Arsenal in each of the last three and four of the last five meetings in the Premier League, including consecutive wins on home soil.
Our Preview’s Man City vs Arsenal Betting Tips Verdict
Man City are the clear favorites for this fixture with the top rated American-friendly sports betting sites, so it might be worth concentrating on the number of goals that are likely to be scored.
They have notched either two or three in each of the last six league meetings between these sides and with a strong likelihood of Arsenal also getting on the scoresheet, our Man City vs Arsenal prediction is: