Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Arsenal
Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, May 8 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)
Match Odds: Man City 7/5 – Draw 13/5 – Arsenal 7/4
City will be desperate to confirm their place in the top four after being eliminated from the Champions League semifinals by Real Madrid on Wednesday night. An immediate response is needed after a relatively lacklustre performance at the Bernabeu.
Manuel Pellegrini will not oversee another European game in charge of City but could guarantee that the club remain in Europe’s elite competition if they win this game and other results go their way this weekend.
The Citizens were thumped 4-2 by Southampton last weekend but several first-team stars sat out of that game in preparation for the Madrid game. A full strength side will take to the field on Sunday.
The Gunners will arrive at the Etihad in relatively good spirits after going unbeaten through their last eight league matches.
Some supporters still feel disappointed with the way the club’s title bid failed yet again and Arsene Wenger remains under pressure. But winning on Sunday would guarantee a top three finish and another season in the Champions League.
That might not be deemed enough by many fans, but it will keep Arsenal from going backwards. They have not lost to City in their last four meetings and will be confident of getting a result here.
The reverse fixture saw Arsenal win 2-1 in December, while the Gunners also won last season’s clash at the Etihad by a 2-0 scoreline.
Manchester City received yet another blow as far as captain Vincent Kompany is concerned after the centre-back left Wednesday’s game with Real Madrid after ten minutes with another muscle injury. David Silva, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov are also out injured. Raheem Sterling will hope to start ahead of Jesus Navas on the wing.
Arsenal have as short an injury list as they have had this season with only two players ruled out. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for around eight weeks and will also miss this summer’s European Championships, while Per Mertesacker is out for the rest of the season too. Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere will be hoping to start after both have played for the club’s Under-21’s recently. Danny Welbeck will hope to start ahead of Olivier Giroud in attack after scoring last week.
Manchester City’s last five: W/W/D/W/L
Arsenal’s last five: D/D/W/D/W
Key Stat: Manchester City have lost more games against Arsenal than any other side (23) and have not beaten the Gunners since 2013.
Key Player: Kelechi Iheanacho – The young City striker might not start Sunday’s game but he will certainly expect to make an impact of the bench at the very least. He now has the best minutes-per-goal ratio in Premier League history (86.9) for any player to have scored three of more and is looking like a really bright prospect.
Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal – It is difficult to make a strong case for either side winning Sunday’s clash and so a draw looks a likely result. City may be tired following their trip to Madrid on Wednesday, while Arsenal have only won one of their last five away games in the top flight. A draw would keep both side’s Champions League hopes in good shape with just one game to play following Sunday’s match.