Arsenal vs Man City has many Premier League ramifications

The English Premier League won’t be decided this Sunday Jan. 13, but things will look a lot clearer after Arsenal takes on second-place Manchester City at the Emirates and league leaders Manchester United meet their old foes Liverpool at home at Old Trafford. The Gunners performance this weekend could actually go a long way in deciding the title this year. With United in first place with 52 points followed by City at 45 and then Spurs at 39, Chelsea at 38, and Everton at 34, Arsenal enters the match in sixth spot with 34 points.
No matter what happens in the United vs Liverpool battle, United is still going to be on top of the heap and Liverpool will still be stuck somewhere in the middle of the table. They’re currently in eighth with 31 points. However, the Arsenal vs City match could kill off any City hopes of catching up with their cross-town rivals if they should happen to lose down in London.
Going into the game, the odds are certainly against City as they’ve won just 15 games in their history while visiting Arsenal and fail to score a goal per game on average. The last three league meetings have resulted in a win, draw and loss for each team with the home team each earning 1-0 victories and the last game, in Manchester ending in a 1-1 draw, so don’t be surprised if this is a low-scoring contest. Overall, Arsenal has beaten City 93 times while losing 47 and drawing 41.
They will have the benefit of playing after the United vs Liverpool match though and this could have a huge affect on the game. If United should happen to win at Old Trafford and stretch their lead over City to 10 points then City manager Roberto Mancini won’t really have a choice other than to go for all three points.
A draw wouldn’t do his side any good as it would see them drop another pair of points in the standings. The United vs Liverpool outcome will have a great impact on how Mancini approaches the game at the Emirates. But a good manager should be going for maximum points no matter what happens elsewhere. Mancini may go into the contest wary of Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, and Santi Cazorla as they’re playing well at the moment and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, and Lukas Podolski are certainly no slouches either.
With Argentinean striker Sergio Aguero sidelined for City, it will be interesting to see if Mancini will take a chance on Italian international Mario Balotelli or leave him out of the starting 11 or the lineup altogether by opting to go with Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez. Of course, Mancini and Balotelli got into it over the holiday season as another bust up erupted between the two during a training session. Balotelli hasn’t contributed much on the pitch at all this season and Mancini may not want to risk him taking a red card in such an important matchup.
City heads into the game with six wins, two draws and two losses on their past 10 contests while Arsenal has five wins, three draws and a pair of defeats. The Gunners have four wins and a draw in their past five though, their best form of the season so far. There’s also a bit of an interesting side note with the game as well since Man City won’t have too many supporters travelling with them to London, at least not to the Emirates anyway. City was allocated 2,000 tickets for the match, but about half of them were returned after supporters refused to pay the £62 that Arsenal was asking for them.
An Arsenal win and a United loss would be a fantastic scenario for the Gunners as it would see them gain three points on the top two clubs. This would place them 15 behind United and just eight adrift of City. Realistically it’d be a hell of a long shot for them to get back in the title race, but they have to start somewhere.
A loss to City and a United win would see them a massive 21 points out of first place though and this would mean they’d have to focus all of their attention on trying to finish in the top four and earn a spot in the Champions League again next season. In addition, an Arsenal loss and a Liverpool win would see the Merseysiders pull even with the Gunners in the table.
No matter who starts for who this weekend, the players are going to have a lot of pressure on them. Predicting the lineups isn’t going to help and there’s not really much point in analyzing tactics and formations etc. These often backfire on managers and it will be up to the players to put in their best performances on the pitch while the managers will have to adapt and react with the right moves. Just enjoy the games for what they are as these two Sunday matches will have a lot of impact on the rest of the Premier League season.

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