Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview

Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview


The Premier League returns with a bang this Saturday as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium to lock horns with his mentor Pep Guardiola and his expensively assembled Manchester City team in the headline fixture of the weekend. This pair of Spanish coaches have met twice since parting ways with each claiming a win apiece.

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During project restart, the Citizens grabbed all three points following a poor display from Brazilian defender David Luiz which led to City’s 3-0 win, although the Gunners were in the thick of the game when it was 11 against 11 before Luiz was sent off in the 24th minute.

The second meeting saw Arteta outwit his former employers by playing with smart counter-attack tactics that was backed up by a defensively sound performance to book his ticket to Wembley and eventually lift last season’s FA Cup. 

We’re set for a humdinger this Saturday. Since 2015, every time Arsenal visit the Etihad, there have been three or more goals scored in the clash.

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Manchester City vs Arsenal | Saturday 17 October | Etihad Stadium | 18:30

To Win (90 Mins)
Manchester City 4/10
Draw 17/4
Arsenal 11/2

Manchester City
Manchester City have played just one home game thus far, suffering a humiliating 5-2 defeat to Leicester City as the Foxes’ evergreen talisman Jamie Vardy exploited the high-line of defence to score a hat-trick past goalkeeper Ederson who had a few below par defenders protecting him, especially Nathan Ake and Eric Garcia as a central partnership.

The tactic of playing with a high-line will be risky against a well-drilled midfield who will release Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into attack with through balls to run directly at the defenders from the inside left channel, cutting in on his right foot. Guardiola will know that the Arsenal captain carries the biggest threat after experiencing it first hand in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley three months ago.

Reinforcements have been added to the Citizens rear-guard with 23-year-old Portuguese centre-back Ruben Dias signing a six-year deal following his impressive spell at Benfica for a reported fee of £62 million. Portugal have produced a top group of talented footballers in recent years that have won A Selecao the 2016 UEFA European Championship and 2018/19 UEFA Nations League titles.

Dias is the cream of the crop when it comes to modern day central defenders – quick to read danger, excellent in aerial duels, comfortable in possession and enjoys playing out from back. Aymeric Laporte and Dias should be the pairing at the heart of defence for the future and personally I’d play Ake at left-back instead of the injury-prone Benjamin Mendy with Kyle Walker on the opposite flank.

Fernandinho and Rodri have played as a double-pivot to compensate for the lack of quality at the back with 2019 PFA Footballer of the Year Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings in an attacking sense.

There are huge problems for Guardiola up top as Sergio Aguero has returned to training but this game might come too soon for the Argentine hitman. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling will both face late fitness tests which leaves much uncertainty regarding who will start this encounter for the Citizens.

The likes of Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden will try to cement their starting spots if given the chance and new boy Ferran Torres might get his first taste of a cracking big-six Premier League match.


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Arsenal

Expectations are high at Arsenal under Arteta who has breathed new life into his beloved club just 10 months into his tenure as manager, while Edu is doing a stellar job as technical director with smart business being done such as signing Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer.

Gabriel Magalhaes is a monstrous Brazilian centre-half signed from French Ligue 1 club Rennes at the ripe age of 22-years-old and will develop into a top-level player if he continues to adapt to quality of the league as quick as he has done thus far.

Gabriel didn’t play the league game against Liverpool but he might be part of the back-three this time around in Arteta’s go-to system whenever he plays against free-scoring teams. This system relies on being alert and reading situations first to deal with them accordingly.

Kieran Tierney will be a huge miss for this clash as the Scottish defender usually slots in on the left side of the back three and sweetly times his runs very well to contribute in the attacking part of the game. Tierney has a great understanding with captain Aubameyang on the left flank and finds Arsenal’s number 14 regularly with precise crosses to launch the team into attack.

However, there are positives to look forward to. The best signing of the entire transfer window across all the English clubs in my opinion has to be the phenomenal Thomas Partey from Ateltico Madrid. The dominant Ghanaian midfielder comes from Diego Simeone’s disciplined and well-drilled Atleti team and I don’t see him finding much, if any, difficulty acclimatizing to English football and Arteta’s intricate tactics. 

I strongly believe that the 27-year-old is in prime position to become the best in his position in the upcoming years. A few more blue-ribbon signings like Partey and Arsenal will be serious contenders in the Premier League and a shoe-in for UEFA Champions League qualification.

Granit Xhaka has gone under the radar but the Swiss captain will now have the freedom to play further up the field with the arrival of Partey. Dani Ceballos will be knocking on the manager’s door for a starting berth. The Spanish midfielder has that something special which enables him to open the lock of the most stubborn defence with his incredible vision and dribbling skills.

Nicolas Pepe’s brilliant goal against Sheffield United highlighted exactly why the Gunners spent £72 million on the Ivorian winger. A lot is expected from the youngster in his second season in England and he’ll surely learn a lot from the more experienced and established Willian who is expected to start ahead of him on Saturday. 

Alexandre Lacazette has started the season in fine goalscoring form, netting three times. The Frenchman was left on the bench in the 2-1 win over Sheffield United last time out but should start against the Citizens as Arteta targets a memorable victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Prediction: Draw (17/4)
These managers know each other very well after spending four and a half successful seasons together. With City’s defence not giving any confidence in recent performances, coupled with Arsenal’s new editions and impressive start to the campaign, my money is on these sides to share the spoils at 17/4.

Written by Bryan Naicker

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