Last weekend at Wembley, Arsenal took on Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup. In the end, it was Manchester City who prevailed with a superb 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Arsenal side whose performance on the day was widely panned by their own fans and pundits alike.
The win handed Pep Guardiola his first silverware since becoming Manchester City manager and with the Premier League all but confirmed bar the shouting, given that City currently enjoy a 13 point lead at the top of the table, with a game in hand over their rivals, that means City can now focus on their Champions League progress to add what would likely be a third trophy in a star-studded season.
First up though, they have to play their game in hand in the Premier League and somewhat unusually, that game will be played on Thursday night, against the team that they beat at Wembley on Sunday so comprehensively.
For Arsenal, this is a chance to exact some degree of revenge for their defeat at Wembley and the Gunners home record this season is as good as any other team in the Premier League. The Gunners have taken 32 out of 39 points available at home this season, winning 10, drawing 2 and losing just the one game so far.
They face a Manchester City side that have the same 10-2-1 record in away fixtures but what is interesting is that those two draws and a defeat have come in City’s last three Premier League away games (Crystal Palace in a 0-0 draw, a 4-3 defeat at Liverpool and a 1-1 draw at Burnley).
City’s only away wins in that time have been against Cardiff and Bristol City in cup competitions, as well as FC Basel in the Champions League.
What is certain is that the Arsenal fans will want their pound of flesh revenge for the defeat on Sunday but whether the players can raise themselves up for the game after such a poor display remains doubtful. City have been superb at key points this season and while they don’t need to win the game, they also look extremely unlikely to lose it as well.
However, one thing I have noticed with Arsene Wenger’s teams is that when they are backed into a corner, they usually produce a notable performance. They were thumped 4-0 by Liverpool earlier this season and bounced back a week later to draw away 0-0 at Chelsea. I fancy them to put on a good showing here and win back the trust of their fans a little.
You could back Arsenal to win at 13/4 with Coral Sport as that is a great value bet given the Gunner’s home record this season, but instead I think the 3/1 on the draw is the best bet here.
Premier League Fixtures – Sat 3rd to Mon 5th March
In addition to the game on Thursday night, Matchday 29 of the Premier League takes place over the weekend from Saturday to Monday with the first of the final 10 games of the season for each of the teams. While it is implausible to think Manchester City could blow their lead in that period, the race for Champions League qualification spots as well as the relegation issues are all yet to be decided.
As such, this means that in almost every single game over the next few weeks, something major will be at stake for one or more of the teams and that is sure to produce plenty of drama.
That begins this weekend with a selection of fixtures that includes a couple of eye-catching games. The full list of fixtures is outlined below (Kick off 3pm unless stated)
Matchday 29 Premier League Fixtures
- Burnley v Everton (12.30)
- Leicester City v Bournemouth
- Swansea City v West Ham
- Tottenham v Huddersfield Town
- Southampton v Stoke City
- Watford v West Bromwich Albion
- Liverpool v Newcastle United (5.30)
- Brighton v Arsenal (Sun 1.30)
- Man City v Chelsea (Sun 4.00)
- Crystal Palace v Man Utd (Mon 8.00)
Burnley face Everton in the first game of the weekend as 7th takes on 9th in what looks like a mid-table clash with little at stake. However, with the way the relegation battle is concertinaing up into the middle reaches of the table, neither of these sides will want to become embroiled with teams battling to stay in the division.
The 3pm kick offs on Saturday see some crucial relegation issues at stake, as well as Tottenham seeking points to potentially move up to third in the table with a win over Huddersfield. Stoke City face a vital game away to Southampton knowing a win would move them two points ahead of Saints and likely out the drop zone, while there’s plenty at stake in the Leicester v Bournemouth, Swansea v West Ham and Watford v West Brom games at too.
In the evening kick off, Liverpool face Newcastle as Rafa Benitez returns to Anfield, sure of a very warm welcome from the home fans. That said, Jurgen Klopp’s men will need to ensure their good run of form of late continues here as they seek to stay ahead of Chelsea and Spurs and overtake Manchester United to earn second spot in the title race behind Man City.
Sunday’s games begin with a tricky trip to Brighton for Arsenal, but the game of the day comes at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City welcome Chelsea in another crucial top six clash. After losing at United last week, Chelsea return to Manchester seeking a hugely important win to kick start their faltering league campaign.
The problem is they face a Manchester City team that has dropped just two points at home all season long and who won their first trophy of the season last weekend at Wembley. This is sure to be a great game, although I cannot see any way Chelsea come away with anything other than a defeat here.
The final game of the weekend comes on Monday night and is an intriguing match as Manchester United face a tricky trip to Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s men are battling for survival and have earned points at home against Manchester City and Chelsea this season. United’s away form has been a little shaky at times and this will be a tough test for the Red Devils in front of a hostile home crowd.
My Weekend Tips with Betway
- Burnley v Everton – Home Win
- Leicester City v Bournemouth – Home Win
- Swansea City v West Ham – Draw
- Tottenham v Huddersfield Town – Home Win
- Southampton v Stoke City – Home Win
- Watford v West Bromwich Albion – Home Win
- Liverpool v Newcastle United – Home Win
- Brighton v Arsenal – Draw
- Man City v Chelsea – Home Win
- Crystal Palace v Man Utd – Away Win
You can back this bet with Betway as an 11-fold accumulator at odds of 385.44/1.