Arsenal meet Manchester City in the highlight of the opening weekend of Premier League action. Mark O'Haire previews the mouthwatering encounter from The Emirates.
"Manchester City finished a full 37 points ahead of Arsenal in 2017/18 and beat the Gunners convincingly in all three meetings by a combined aggregate of 9-1."
Arsenal v Manchester City
Sunday August 12, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports
Arsenal start a new era
For the first time since 1996, Arsenal start a Premier League season with a new manager in the dugout. Unai Emery has been installed as Arsene Wenger's successor as the Gunners bid to improve on their 63-point tally in the Premier League last season - their worst return since 1995.
Arsenal conceded the most goals of the top seven sides in the division and moves have been made to add more ballast at the back. Stephane Lichtsteiner and Sokratis could slot immediately into the back-four, while midfield shield Lucas Torreira may also be given the nod as Emery seeks a solid base.
However, the Gunners have concerns elsewhere with Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal all unlikely to be involved. Without an obvious left-back replacement, Ainsley Maitland-Niles might be called upon to fill the problem position on Sunday.
Manchester City backed to retain their crown
Record-breaking Premier League champions Manchester City showed no hangover from last season's exploits as they swept Chelsea aside 2-0 in last weekend's Community Shield at Wembley. Sergio Aguero scored twice to comfortably seal the Citizens' first trophy of the new campaign.
City are odds-on favourites to retain their domestic crown and it's difficult to disagree with the layers price. Pep Guardiola's troops became the first top-flight English side to accumulate a century of points and finished 19 points clear of the pack - the widest winning margin in Premier League history.
Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva were left out of Man City's outing at Wembley and aren't expected to play a key role here. Guardiola will also be without the injured Danilo and Eliaquim Mangala and so is likely to field a similar starting XI when City pitch up at The Emirates.
City supported for Emirates success
Manchester City [2.02] finished a full 37 points ahead of Arsenal in 2017/18 and beat the Gunners convincingly in all three meetings by a combined aggregate of 9-1. The Citizens were ahead inside the opening 20 minutes in each of those encounters and have lost just once in their past six trips to The Emirates.
City have taken top honours in all bar five of their last 36 Premier League outings and were victories 16 times on their travels last term. The visitors are also generally excellent starters, having won their opening game in each of the most recent seven seasons by a combined 20-3.
Arsenal [3.85] W15-D2-L2 on home soil in Arsene Wenger's final campaign, though their two defeats came against the Manchester clubs. The Gunners have suffered home losses to Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa in curtain-raising clashes since 2010/11 and are likely to be out-classed by City on Sunday.
Manchester City were available at 1.75 to win this match in March, and even if a selection of the Citizens' big-hitting stars are left out, the odds-against quotes on an away victory can't be passed up.
The past six meetings between these two teams have produced 21 goals and there's no real reason to believe Super Sunday's showdown won't follow a similar goal-heavy path, hence the miniscule [1.56] odds available on Over 2.5 Goals.
Collectively, the pair saw 26/38 (64%) of their respective home/away Premier League ties feature three goals or more last season, with 17/38 (45%) breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. Meanwhile, the duo have also seen 19/40 (45%) of their combined previous meetings with top-six rivals also deliver Over 3.5 Goals.
A repeat on Sunday is available to support at [2.32], odds that imply a 43% chance of success.
Rather than bank on Over 3.5 Goals, it might be wiser to combine our selection on Manchester City to win the match - as outlined earlier - and take the safer option of Over 2.5 Goals in Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi bet builder.
Combining the two selections returns more handsome odds of 17/10.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 5.00 pts
Returned: 7.28 pts
P/L: +2.28 pts