Manchester City will travel down to north London for Thursday’s clash with Arsenal knowing that another victory over Arsene Wenger’s side could be on the cards.
The Blues, 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a game in hand over the chasing pack, are in control of their own fate but Pep Guardiola will be demanding that his players maintain their current levels of intensity throughout the rest of the campaign.
Despite their excellent record at Wembley Stadium, plenty of Arsenal fans expected to lose Sunday’s cup final. However, the manner of the defeat was simply inexcusable. Spineless, stupid, pathetic – say whatever you want, Arsenal were woeful at best.
Wenger will need to give one heck of a team talk to inspire his Gunners just four days after that Carabao Cup demolition job…
Arsene Wenger Is A Dead Man Walking
The ‘Wenger In’ crowd were very quiet on Sunday evening – it is time for the Frenchman to go. Arsenal need a victory here to keep pace in the race for the top four; anything less than three points could be catastrophic to their chances of qualifying for the 2018/19 Champions League.
Incredibly, Arsenal are 7/2 to win on Thursday night – an excellent price for a Gunners side that tends to perform well on home soil. However, it is very difficult to place too much faith in Wenger’s men right now, especially against City. The Blues were too strong for Arsenal on Sunday and they should be strong for Arsenal again on Thursday.
The Emirates Stadium faithful will be wary of another heavy defeat and Wenger will be demanding a response. 11/10 for over 4.5 shots on target may be worth considering – Arsenal could start brightly. In addition, Hector Bellerin represents solid value at 11/4 to be carded during the contest.
Champions-Elect City Oozing Confidence
Was Sunday’s result ever in doubt? From the first minute until the 93rd minute, Manchester City were in complete control. Guardiola’s side were never going to lose that match and it really did look like men against boys for large periods. City are 8/11 to emerge victorious at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening but there is better value out there.
It was that man Sergio Aguero who opened the scoring on Sunday – as tipped by 888sport at 3/1 in our Carabao Cup final preview. Gabriel Jesus was back in the City squad for that clash and the Brazilian could return in midweek. With 30 goals in all competitions this campaign, Aguero is on fire right now and is well worth backing at 10/3 to grab the opener again.
888sport are going 6/4 on City to be winning at half-time and full-time; a price well worth taking on current form. Pep’s men will be looking for a fast start and Arsenal may be caught flat-footed if City go for the throat. By the same token, the 5/4 available for City to score in both halves also carries plenty of appeal.
For me, City are going to be too strong once again. Arsenal cannot be as bad as they were on Sunday afternoon but the Blues didn’t really have to get out of second gear and Pep’s men will be full of confidence following that win. 7/1 for a 2-1 away victory is a great price.
ARSENAL 1-2 MANCHESTER CITY (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*