It couldn’t be a more difficult start for the Gunners as they resume their Premier League campaign on Wednesday evening, with the team travelling to the Etihad.
It’s apprentice versus master as Mikel Arteta goes up against his old boss Pep Guardiola in what will be an intriguing encounter.
Most football predictions are expecting Manchester City to conquer, with the bookies pricing them around 1/3. However, Bet and Skill have noted that Arsenal have drawn their last five league fixtures at home, and given the circumstances surrounding this one, it could be the sort of tie that has draw written all over it.
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) June 15, 2020
Arsenal are expected to see both Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney back in action, but will still be without Calum Chambers, Lucas Torreira and Cedric Soares.
Manchester City have long term injuries Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte back, the latter of which they’ve sorely missed and will be keen to have back in the side to try and stop Aubameyang and Lacazette.
There’s certainly more riding on this game for The Gunners. Manchester City are out of the title race and will have a more formal eye on the FA Cup and Champions League, following their victory over Real Madrid. Arteta is chasing European football and it’s undoubted he’ll use his knowledge of Guardiola to try and prove successful tomorrow evening.
💬 “In my coaching career and my personal life, he has an enormous influence. If I have to talk about the person he is, his values, the way he has treated me and how he deals with the players and the staff around him, it’s phenomenal.”
👔 @m8arteta on the influence of Guardiola
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) June 15, 2020
He’s played a similar shape to Guardiola since arriving at Arsenal using a five pronged attack and an importance of full backs in the opposition’s half. He has increased the number of passing sequences, with Ozil’s goal against Newcastle being a good example of this.
A win tomorrow would move to just two points behind fifth place if he gets one over on the former Barcelona man.
That would be hugely significant. Fifth could prove enough to earn a Champions League spot with City’s impending ban, and it would also mark a remarkable turnaround by Arteta since taking charge.
Of course, that’s easier said than done against Manchester City. The bookies are pricing Arsenal at 9/1. Arteta has yet to meet a top team this season, and with Tottenham, Leicester and Liverpool all still to come, it may be a good indicator as to how they will cope.
It’s the first game back though and like any first game of the season, it’s almost impossible to know how this game will play out.
If Arsenal can continue the progress they were making pre-lockdown, then it could be a competitive game at the Etihad in which the Gunners have half a chance.
PEP 💬 We are ready to play one game, but three days after another and four days after another… we are not ready.
We have to rotate and use all the players. The players are in naturally good physical condition.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 16, 2020
Let’s not forget Manchester City have been hugely inconsistent in more recent times, and if any man knows their weaknesses, it’s Arteta.
Get a win and it could be the kickstart the Gunners need to moving ahead of Spurs and towards a return of Champions League action.