Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders face the acid test of their title aspirations this evening when Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City in what promises to be a tense top-of-the-table tussle at The Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners’ lead at the summit of the standings has been whittled away to just three points ahead of kick-off, and if Pep Guardiola can mastermind a victory over his former pupil in the capital, City will knock Arsenal off top spot for the first time since November.
Below, I’ve laid out my stats pack for this evening’s showdown in North London which has a mashup of metrics to use when constructing your bet builders for the game. Use the data below in conjunction with my Stats Pack Guide to yield better results.
Arsenal come equipped with the kind of stats you’d expect any Premier League leader to carry, though their numbers slipped in their last two assignments against Everton and Brentford, and they lost the xG battle on each occasion.
The Gunners were rightly incensed that Brentford’s offside equalizer stood on Saturday, though Arsenal allowed the Bees to rack up an xG of 2.0 to their own 1.6, and a share of the spoils was probably just.
Arsenal have the 7th-cleanest disciplinary record in the top flight, while six other teams have won more corners than the Gunners so far.
Manchester City have posted better stats than Arsenal in the goals, xG, shots, shots on target and corners for departments in 2022/23, though the Gunners have an ever-so-slight edge over the Cityzens in the goals against per 90 column.
Incredibly, City have won 100% of their last ten Premier League encounters with Arsenal and the Gunners’ 2-0 FA Cup Final win over the Manchester giants in 2020 remains their only victory in 14 attempts against them in all competitions.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Arsenal’s dynamic front four of Nketiah (3.45 shots p/90), Martinelli (2.71), Odegaard (2.73) and Saka (2.45) have been providing most of Arsenal’s threat this term, though January addition, Leandro Trossard, has also been proving his worth off the bench.
Bukayo Saka lodged a stunning seven attempts from the right flank against Brentford on Saturday. Two of those strikes were accurate and the in-form 21-year-old can be backed at a very generous 5/6 to test Ederson with just one shot on target today.
Norwegian goal-machine Erling Haaland was restricted to just one attempt by Aston Villa on Sunday, though his supporting cast all found more room to manoeuvre in against the Villains.
Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez clocked four and three shots respectively and remarkably, the former got 100% of his four efforts on target. Gundogan’s sights seem to be zeroed at the moment, and the 32-year-old is a generous 5/4 to finish this evening’s game with at least one shot on target again. Or you could add Algerian winger Mahrez at 4/7 to your bet builder in the same market.
Player Goals and Assists
The only goal Arsenal managed to score in their last three assignments was dispatched by substitute Leandro Trossard against Brentford, though Eddie Nketiah’s poaching powers ran hot when the Gunners last hosted a Manchester side in London.
The 23-year-old notched twice against United on January 22nd and Nketiah is priced at 23/10 to make his mark again this evening. Big-game specialist Bukayo Saka also registered against United and the wide forward put Arsenal in front against City in last season’s corresponding fixture. Saka is keenly priced at 6/4 to either score or assist later on.
Famous last words, but teams (especially decent ones) have been finding it easier to keep Erling Haaland locked down in games, and the Norwegian has failed to score in six of his last eight City appearances and in each of his last four runouts on the road. It might be better to look elsewhere for goalscoring options today.
When City last played Arsenal in the cup at the end of January, the teams were separated by a single Nathan Ake goal, while goals from Mahrez and Rodri allowed City to prevail in the last league encounter between the clubs.
Mahrez has been in terrific form since Christmas, racking up eight goal contributions in his last eight appearances in the Premier League since the festivities. The 31-year-old is of interest at 13/10 to either score or assist again this evening.
Arsenal enjoyed a shade over 46% of the possession against Man City at The Etihad Stadium in January’s FA Cup meeting between the clubs, despite Mikel Arteta’s slight reshuffle of personnel, so an even split of the ball could be in the works today.
Oleksandr Zinchenko tends to see quite a bit of action as a hybrid left-back/midfielder in Arteta’s system, and the Ukrainian, who has been averaging 70.7 passes per 90, is priced at evens to beat the same target today.
Spanish play-knitter Rodri has been City’s distribution king this term and the 26-year-old has played north of 100 passes in four of his last five Premier League appearances for the champions. Rodri carries a price of 10/11 to play 90+ passes against Arsenal today.
Ruben Dias is still getting up to speed following a spell on the sidelines, though the Portuguese defender played at least 90 passes in five of his last seven starts in the Premier League and he could be a decent option to flesh out your docket to play a much-lower 70+ passes at 1/4 later on.
Arsenal fullback Ben White has already been carded four times in the Premier League this season and he is probably in the midst of his ropiest spell of the campaign in terms of performance. White could be on edge after a string of underwhelming displays and he represents good value at 11/4 to be cautioned again.
With Oleksandr Zinchenko keen on positional walkabouts, Gabriel could have to defend one-on-one against Riyah Mahrez more than he would like today and the Brazilian is available at 1/2 to commit just one foul while performing his awkward defensive duties.
Martin Odegaard meanwhile, has commited two or more fouls in four of his last nine league appearances and the Norwegian schemer, who is meaner than he looks, is 5/6 to match that tally of indiscretions again later on.
Jack Grealish remains one of the Premier League’s most-fouled players and his blend of trickery and timing should draw Ben White into some interesting challenges later on. Similarly, Riyad Mahrez should cause all kinds of issues for Gabriel when he breaks in from his flank to wreak havoc more centrally.
Kevin de Bruyne has been fouled 0.96 times per 90 this term and his occupation of the same spaces patrolled by Martin Odegaard could spark a collision or two. Card-happy referee Anthony Taylor might be forced to intervene.
Match-Ups to watch
Ben White vs Jack Grealish
Gabriel vs Riyad Mahrez
Martin Odegaard vs Kevin de Bruyne
Manchester City Cards
Manchester City don’t tend to collect many cards, but with so much at stake this evening, I expect their players to hit that little bit harder, especially when trying to keep a lid on Arsenal’s lethal frontline.
Rodri (1.58 fouls per 90) will aim to win the physical battles in midfield and just two of his last 11 Premier League appearances have passed with at least one foul from the Spanish international. Rodri is 10/11 to commit at least two more today.
City fullbacks Nathan Ake and Rico Lewis or Kyle Walker should have plenty of menace to defend against down both flanks. Ake looks like a solid option at 4/7 to clock at least one foul, while Lewis and Walker are 11/4 and 10/3 respectively to see yellow.
Arsenal have acceleration and trickery to burn down both sides of the pitch in livewire duo Gabriel Martinelli and Buyako Saka. Both wingers can put their markers through the ringer if given a sniff of an opportunity to get at them. Tackles and fouls could be mustered in response.
Granit Xhaka’s (fouled 1.16 times p/90) battle with Rodri for dominion over midfield should be eye-catching. Both players stand at over 6 feet tall and their altercations could be card-worthy.
Match-Ups to watch
Rodri vs Granit Xhaka
Nathan Ake vs Buyako Saka
Kyle Walker/Rico Lewis vs Gabriel Martinelli
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
There’s some bet builder selections that screamed value in this huge match at the summit of the league. Take a look through them, and feel free to add any or all to your betslip at a combined 13/1.
Arsenal vs Man City
Ilkay Gundogan averages 0.81 shots on target p/90, from 2.35 shots.
Against Villa last time out, he managed FOUR shots on target.
He’s adopted much more of a box to box role in Pep Guardiola’s unorthodox 3 at the back.
Bukayo Saka has 7 goals and 8 assists in 21 Premier League outings.
Last time Arsenal hosted a Manchester club (last month vs United), Saka got on the scoresheet. Last time City travelled to the Emirates, the winger also notched a goal.
With Pep experimenting in formation, and with Arteta’s tactical porwess, they may look to exploit the areas down the left of City’s back 3.
Ben White commits an average of 0.70 fouls p/90, and has received 4 bookings this season.
But against City he has a completely different test in Jack Grealish. His countryman is one of the best foul drawers in the world and gets brought to the ground a huge 3.50 times p/90, helped by him attempting 4.55 dribbles p/90.
This can be proven when Takehiro Tomiyasu deputised for the right-back in the FA Cup match. The Japanese international committed 3 fouls.
White is in the midst of a tough run of form, and teams have figured out how to make him look out of his comfort zone in his makeshift right-back role.
A good place to start here is to look at that FA Cup fixture where City edged it 1-0.
It was a tactical showdown and was not the entertainment we were expecting.
That’s why under 10.5 corners looks like value considering just 3 featured in their last showdown (all in Arsenal’s favour).
In this same fixture last season, this selection would have come in too (10 corners).
But looking at this season’s game averages, it’s even moretempting.
Arsenal games see an average of 9.90 corners, while City games see 9.14.
When City are away from the Etihad this drops to just 8.20.