The Premier League title race still has quite a ways to go, but Wednesday could go a long way to deciding who sits at the summit of English soccer come the end of the season. Arsenal will visit Manchester City with just five points separating the two sides as the Gunners have 75 and City have 70. City have played two less games, and while they may already by the favorites for some, a win in this game will verify that. If Arsenal can get a win, then they put one hand potentially around the trophy while a draw still should be viewed as a good point for Mikel Arteta’s men, who are winless in the last three games, drawing all of them.
Here’s everything to know including our expert picks:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Wednesday, Apr. 26 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Etihad Stadium– Manchester, England
- Live stream: Peacock
- Odds: Manchester City -185; Draw +330; Arsenal +460 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Arsenal
By Chuck Booth
One player to watch: Jack Grealish. Looking at this match, Arsenal’s biggest vulnerability is in defense where they can be exploited from wide areas. Fully buying into the style at City, Gealish is someone who can make them pay if given space. Performing in defense while also creating chances in attack, after Erling Haaland, Grealish has been one of City’s most productive attackers as of late.
Underrated X-factor: Ilkay Gundogan. Maybe one of the most underrated players during his tenure at City, what Gundogan brings to the midfield can’t be matched. From gliding into the box to score an equalizer to keeping midfield play ticking over to start a counter attack, Gundogan is part of what makes the midfield tick. If he’s able to orchestrate the game, that will keep Arsenal from attacking only adding to City’s chances of winning the match.
Biggest reason they’ll win: Having Erling Haaland on your side certainly makes winning soccer matches easier. Even when the Norwegian doesn’t score, his impact on the game due to his runs off the ball create so much space for his teammates. Part of that is due to the respect that must be given to a striker who has scored 48 goals in all competitions, but Haaland knows what he wants to do in a match and when he gets going, few can stop him.
Biggest reason they’ll lose: If Nathan Ake isn’t fit, the biggest question in the match is who will track Bukayo Saka. Aymeric Laporte would be the likely fill in but he’s not as willing to go wide and lock down a winger as Ake has been in Guardiola’s back three as of late. The defense can be susceptible to allowing chances on the counter attack and Arsenal are a team that manages those transitions well so if City allows the Gunners to turn the match into a track meet, it may not end well for them.
By James Benge
One player to watch: Bukayo Saka – Invincible center back Kolo Toure made quite an apt comparison this week between Saka and Michael Jordan, though obviously the former has not yet graduated to the championship-winning juggernaut. Like the NBA‘s G.O.A.T. in his formative years, Saka has swiftly developed the aura of a match-winner, a player who you can scheme your defense to stop but where you’d still be doing well to slow him down. With City likely to be missing stopper-in-chief Ake, Saka will fancy his chances of causing all sorts of chaos down their left flank.
Underrated X-factor: Gabriel Magalhaes – If nothing else, there is no one that Arsenal need to have a great game quite as much as Gabriel, who may well have a lot of sweeping up to do if Rob Holding fails to get the better of Haaland in their individual duels. That is to go alongside his usual duties as cover for the whole left flank, allowing Oleksandr Zinchenko to go wandering. He may not have got the garlands of others but he has been one of the best, if not the best, center back in the Premier League this season. Wednesday would be a great day to prove that.
Biggest reason they’ll win: Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will fancy their chances playing against full backs who may be excellent defenders but, based on how Guardiola has lined up in recent weeks, they are likely to be repurposed full backs. Those two cause merry havoc wherever they go and were the dominant performers as Arsenal overcame a two-goal deficit to draw with Southampton on Friday night. They betray no sense of fear on the biggest days, indeed they seem to relish them.
Biggest reason they’ll lose: There are a lot. The simplest is that their players are not as good as their City counterparts. The cruelest might be that Rob Holding is just about to be bullied by Haaland. Arteta, however, would contend that the big problem is really individual errors of the sort that handed Kevin De Bruyne the opener when these two sides met at the Emirates Stadium. “You cannot give anything away,” Arteta told CBS Sports in his pre-match press conference. “Against big teams they punish you straight away. That game, for many periods, we did really, really well and deserved much better. But again we had one or two moments that we gave them and the game was over.”
By Jonathan Johnson
Final result: 2-1. The general consensus is that both City and Arsenal score but that Guardiola’s men come out on top by a goal or two. With two shouts for 2-1, another pair for 3-1 and one for a 1-1 draw, it is safe to say that our experts are unanimous in expecting goals. Given the crucial nature of the game in the Premier League title race, we will go for the tighter outcome.
Man of the match: Erling Haaland. The Norwegian superstar is the favorite for this ahead of two other City teammates. Intriguingly, two of our MOTM picks have been defenders with Arsenal’s Gabriel and City’s Ruben Dias getting some love. Given that we are expecting goals across the board, Haaland makes sense. Plus the fact that he was on an absolute tear with 15 goals from seven consecutive games up until the FA Cup semifinal over the weekend which saw Riyad Mahrez play the starring role.