Manchester City v Arsenal: Don't write off Gunners

City are scoring for fun but this could be one of Pep Guardiola's tougher afternoons
City are scoring for fun but this could be one of Pep Guardiola's tougher afternoons
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Arsenal could give Pep Guardiola and Manchester City plenty to think about when the two sides meet at the Etihad on Sunday, says Dave Tindall...

"Let's not forget that Wenger got the better of Guardiola in April's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, the Gunners winning 2-1 in extra-time."

0.5pts Draw at [5.5]

Man City v Arsenal
Sunday, 14:15
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

City share record tally

They're huge [1.27] favourites for the Premier League and also in front of Real Madrid in the Champions League betting after winning 4-2 away at Napoli in midweek.

Their tally of 28 points from the first 10 Premier League games matches the previous record of Chelsea in 2005-06 and the City title winners of 2011-12 while their goal difference is already an absurd +29.

Yes, Manchester City can apparently do no wrong right now.

They've averaging more than four goals per game at the Etihad in the Premier League while four of their players - Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane - are in the top eight on the current Premier League Top Scorers list.

I could go on...

Gunners firing again

City's exploits are making everyone else look rather pedestrian but Arsenal are in good nick themselves.

Since the low of their 4-0 away defeat to Liverpool, Arsene Wenger's men have won nine, drawn three and lost just one of their last 13 fixtures since.

That includes a rather surprising 0-0 away draw at Chelsea when everyone thought they'd be turned over while their only loss in that run was a 2-1 reverse against Watford when they were bullied out of it physically.

In that respect, they'll find it more comfortable playing a Pep Guardiola side.

City big favourites

The betting would have been much closer than this down the years but City's all-conquering performances give the match betting a very one-sided look.

City are just [1.43] to march on with three more points, while Arsenal are out at [8]. The Draw is an inflated [5.5].

History says it would pay to oppose City as they've won just one of their last nine against Arsenal in all competitions.

The knee-jerk "this is a different City" response is an obvious one to make but let's not forget that Wenger got the better of Guardiola in April's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, the Gunners winning 2-1 in extra-time.

It's very easy just to put City up as the bet here and be done with it but the rhythm of football suggests they can't just keep demolishing sides and the fluency will go at some point.

Playing them after an away trip in Europe could also help Arsenal even though City after done well following Champions League games so far.

The thrill of winning 4-2 away in Napoli will have given City an extra high but, even for the elite sides, there can be a negative reaction when that happens.

I just have a nagging feeling that history + Arsenal's current form + City's post-Champions League comedown could be a recipe for Wenger and co to get something here.

Remember how Liverpool were exposing City at the back before Sadio Mane was sent off?

I could look very stupid and a 4-1 City win could easily be the final outcome but that draw price is enough to lure me in.

That was the result at Wembley after 90 minutes and four of the last seven meetings have been all-square at full-time.

Goals on the cards

This is inevitably seen as an Overs game and Over 2.5 trades at just [1.42]. It's [3.15] for Unders.

Over 3.5 goals is odds-on too at [1.92] but plenty of punters will probably be happy to go as big as Over 4.5 at [2.88].

Nothing really gets my attention there though.

Gunners expected to join in

BTTS has landed in the last five meetings between this pair and should do so again. It's [1.51] for Yes and [2.12] for No.

City have shipped four goals in their last two games (West Brom and Napoli) so they're basically just outscoring teams.

Arsenal had scored in 11 of their last 12 games before Thursday's 0-0 draw with a weakened team against Red Star.

Sterling service

City's Fab Four goalgetters are all pretty short with Sergio Aguero [1.7], Gabriel Jesus [1.8], Leroy Sane [2.4] and Raheem Sterling [2.4].

But I will play Sterling at that price because the stats easily justify a punt.

He's banged in four goals in his last five games and it's five in five at the Etihad.

He also enjoys playing against Arsenal. The England man netted the winner in this fixture last year and also bagged a brace when Liverpool hammered the Gunners 5-1 in 2014.

He's a much improved finisher and can strike again.

For Arsenal, I'll have a little on Aaron Ramsey at [6.0].

The Welshman has netted in his last two Premier League games (away at Everton, home to Swansea) and tends to get his goals in bunches.

The price looks big given that City have conceded more home goals than Burnley this season. Imagine what Ramsey's odds would be to score at Turf Moor. An anytime goal in a 6-1 defeat counts just as much as it does in a 1-0 win.

Ref watch

Michael Oliver is the man in the middle on Sunday, just as he was when Arsenal dug out that 0-0 with Chelsea.

The Northumberland official sent off David Luiz in that one, also booking three Arsenal players.

Overall this season, he's shown 51 yellows and two reds in his 12 games. No other ref on the Premier League rota is brandishing as many cards as Oliver's 4.25 per match.

Opta Stat

Arsenal's 2-0 victory at the Etihad in January 2015 remains the Gunners' only away Premier League victory against the 'big six' since the start of the 2014/15 season (D7 L9).

Recommended Bets

0.5pts Draw at [5.5]
1pt Raheem Sterling to Score at [2.4]
0.5pts Aaron Ramsey to Score at [6]

Dave Tindall's P/L, 2017/18

Staked: 29.5pts
Returned: 30.05pts
P/L: +1.55pts

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