Manchester City vs Arsenal, Premier League Restart - Predictions & Betting Odds
- After a three-month hiatus, the Premier League resumes on Wednesday
- Manchester City’s biggest battle is off the field but it will still be targeting second place
- Arsenal is an outsider for the Champions League places but is not out of the race yet
|What||Manchester City vs Arsenal|
|Where||Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England|
|When||Wednesday, 17 June 2020, 3:15 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Of the major European soccer competitions, the Premier League was the last to announce a pause in play back in March. The eventual trigger for the season to be put on hold came when Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, tested positive for COVID-19. His team’s match against Manchester City, scheduled for two days prior, had already been called off, and the Spaniard’s situation forced the authorities to act.
England’s top-flight is now ready to resume, with Aston Villa and Sheffield United set to raise the curtain on Wednesday. A few hours later, Arsenal will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face the Premier League champion – a status that Manchester City will not hold for too much longer.
Liverpool is 25 points clear at the top of the table and requires a maximum of two more wins to claim its first title since 1990. Jurgen Klopp’s side has been by far the strongest team in the division this term, with City having failed to match the level it reached in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Even more concerning for Pep Guardiola and co. is the club’s probable absence from the Champions League next campaign – City has appealed its punishment, but as things stand it will be absent from continental competition for two seasons after being found guilty of breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
Arsenal is desperate to return to the Champions League and is one of the teams eyeing fifth place, which will bring with it a place in the tournament if City’s ban is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, it will be difficult for Arsenal to take anything from its first game back.
Manchester City vs Arsenal Odds
|Manchester City to win and both teams to score||Odds|
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
City has made some unexpected slip-ups this season, losing away to Norwich and at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, and drawing with Crystal Palace and Newcastle United. Its relative lack of consistency compared to Liverpool has allowed the Reds to race clear at the summit of the standings.
City is still comfortably the second-best team in the division, though, and its superior quality should show on Wednesday. Still, Arsenal has sufficient attacking firepower to find the back of the net at the Etihad.
City and Liverpool Are a Class Above Rest of Premier League
City may have been unable to keep pace with Liverpool this season, but the two clubs are a class above the other 18 in the Premier League. That may not be accurately represented by the current table – City is only four points clear of Leicester, albeit having played a game fewer – but other statistics bear this out.
City is the top scorer of 2019/20, having found the net 68 times – twice more than Liverpool. Its defense has admittedly not been as solid as in previous years, with the team’s backline having been breached on 31 occasions.
Yet a look at the underlying numbers suggests that City is unfortunate to be so far behind Liverpool. Guardiola’s side has the highest Expected Goals (xG) rate in the division and the lowest Expected Goals Against (xGA). That indicates it has not always had the rub of the green this campaign. It also shows that City should be considered the heavy favorite in Wednesday’s meeting with Arsenal.
Arteta Has Engineered Improvement but Top Five Could Be Out of Reach
The break in play came at the wrong time for Arsenal, which had just begun to string a run of positive results together. Indeed, three consecutive victories over Newcastle, Everton and West Ham had moved the Gunners to within five points of Manchester United in fifth.
That position in the table will be the target for Arteta, who has made Arsenal harder to beat and given the team more of a clearly defined attacking identity. Yet finishing in fifth will probably require Arsenal to win eight of its remaining 10 games – and even that might not be enough. The Champions League is likely to elude the north London outfit for another season.
Arsenal Can Strike on the Counter but City May Overwhelm the Visitor
Prior to his appointment as Arsenal manager in December, Arteta worked as Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad. His knowledge of how the Catalan works could be of some use ahead of this game, although that will probably be negated by Guardiola’s ability to constantly evolve and spring surprises with his tactics and team selection.
Arsenal’s best hope of hurting City is on the counter-attack, with forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah all possessing speed and mobility – although it is unlikely that all three will be named in the team. Arsenal has failed to score in only one of its 10 games under Arteta, which will give it hope heading into Wednesday’s contest.
Take the Yes option here – Arsenal has the ability to score against City but is unlikely to avoid defeat by the reigning champion.