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Gunners Start the Weekend With A Bang By Taking On Champions Manchester City

Arsenal Manchester City Bet365After a break for international fixtures, the Premier League gets back into action this coming weekend and there’s no gentle easing back into things for two of the genuine title contenders this season.

Arsenal will welcome Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime in what promises to be one of the key games of the 2014-2015 Premier League season.

The 12:45 kick off on Saturday won’t be welcome news to either Arsene Wenger or Manuel Pellegrini, who have seen their squads decimated by international call ups leading up to the game, meaning that both teams will have limited time to have prepared for what is likely to be one of the key games of the season.

The timing of the game, plus the fact it comes just a few days before both teams crucial opening Champions’ League group stage clashes, means that this is likely to be one of the defining games of the season for both teams.

Arsenal

If Arsene Wenger wants any good omens for his team ahead of Saturday’s huge clash, he only needs to look back a month as on 10th August, Arsenal inflicted a 3-0 defeat on City in the season opening Community Shield.

In their five competitive games since, Arsenal have won two and drawn three  two of those draws coming in the league away at Everton and Leicester. In truth, the Gunners have failed to build on that Community Shield win.

They laboured to a fortuitous 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, thanks to a last minute striker from Aaron Ramsey on the opening day of the season and their only other win, a 1-0 win over Besiktas in the Champions League qualifier second leg, was equally fortunate.

The Gunners were struck with a big blow when Olivier Giroud, their languid French centre-forward, was ruled out through injury until the New Year. With pressure on the manager to bring in a replacement, Arsenal found their man, spending £16m on Manchester United’s English international striker Danny Welbeck.

It will be interesting to see if Welbeck earns a place in the team immediately; personally, given the opposition, I think the ex-Man Utd striker will likely start on the bench. I see Arsenal adopting a five-man midfield for the game and Alexis Sanchez likely to play a lone front role, similar to that he played so effectively for Chile at the World Cup last summer.

Midfield will be the key area for Arsenal and it was the area where teams like Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea dominated them physically last season. How Arsenal cope with the likes of Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and David Silva in midfield may well have a bearing on who wins the game.

Probable Arsenal team:

  • Szczesny
  • Debuchy
  • Chambers
  • Koscielny
  • Mertesacker
  • Arteta
  • Wilshere
  • Ozil
  • Ramsey
  • Cazorla
  • Sanchez

Manchester City

After two wins in their first two games, including an excellent 3-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City were expected to make it three wins out of three last time out at home to Stoke City. However, a poor performance and a fantastic individual strike from ex-Manchester United man Mame Biram Diouf was enough to give Stoke the three points and shock the home fans.

Therefore, the game with Arsenal takes on added significance, especially after City were so poor in their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley just a month ago. The major worry for City is the news that in form striker Stevan Jovetic, has picked up an injury and is a doubt for the game.

Jovetic endured an injury plagued first season at City last season, but looked much sharper in pre-season and while Sergio Aguero has struggled for match-fitness, Jovetic has proved a more than able deputy. Last season, City humiliated Arsenal 6-3 at the Etihad, but the Gunners were much better in the rematch in March, securing a 1-1 draw with City at the Emirates.

It seems unlikely that City will be in a position to hammer the Gunners once again this season. Key for City will be the strength of their spine, if the likes of KompanyFernandinhoToure and Dzeko can control the game, then this will allow City’s flair players like Silva, Jovetic, Aguero and Navas to cause Arsenal huge problems.

City are likely to be physically stronger than Arsenal, but will the Gunners have developed a plan to combat this, as they did successfully in the last two games where the teams met.

Probable Manchester City team:

  • Hart
  • Zabaleta
  • Clichy
  • Kompany
  • Demichelis
  • Fernandinho
  • Nasri
  • Silva
  • Toure
  • Dzeko
  • Jovetic (if fit, if not Aguero)

Top Betting Markets

Full Time Result

It’s a tough one to predict. City seldom lose two games in a row and Arsenal haven’t been in top form despite being unbeaten so far this season. Last time out at the Emirates Stadium, the game finished in a draw and I can see a similar scoreline today.

You can back a draw at 5/2 with Bet365, or if you wanted better odds, you can take the HT/FT selection of Manchester City to be leading at half time, with the game to finish in a draw at 14/1.

Not a Bet365 customer? If you sign up today you’ll have plenty of time to get in on this matchup and moreover, new accountholders are qualified to receive $100 in free Bet365 Sports bets.

Correct Score

There is huge attacking potential on each side, but it is fair to say that neither have really reached their clinical best as yet and both will be well aware that defeat here could be a major problem for them, especially with Chelsea looking rampant at the top of the table.

As such, I envisage a tight game with just two goals scored, one for each team. You can get 6-1 with Bet365 Sport on the match finishing 1-1.

Each Way Goalscorer

Rather than do an outright first goalscorer bet, I am very keen on the Each Way goalscorer market offered by Bet365 Sport. Here you can bet on a player to score first each way, which means if they do score first, you win a significant amount, but if they don’t but do score at another point in the game, you can usually win your stake back, plus a bit more.

My original pick here would have been Stevan Jovetic, but since he has picked up an injury, I’m going to back David Silva each way at 11/1 to be the first goals score. A £10 each way first goalscorer bet on Silva would return £83.33 if he scored the first goal of the game, or £23.33 if he scores at any time.

Scorecast Bet

If you want to back David Silva to score first and the game to finish 1-1, then you can get 70/1 on that scorecast bet with Bet365. This is a great value bet as a £10 stake could return you over £700.

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