The two strongest teams in England, Manchester City and Arsenal, collide at The Etihad Stadium this evening in what is undoubtedly the glamour tie of the FA Cup’s fourth round.
Alongside securing passage to the tournament’s next stage, both teams will be determined to put a marker down ahead of their potentially-pivotal encounter in the Premier League on February 15th, and sparks are almost certain to fly under the lights in Manchester.
Below, you can dive straight into my stats pack for this evening’s showpiece showdown, which is laden with all measure of stats and info for you to pick a bet builder later on. To ensure you get the most value out of the data, take a glance at my Stats Pack Guide here.
Manchester City have found their footing again after a brief wobble and the xG of 2.3 they lodged in their 3-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday was their second highest in a game since early October.
City trump Arsenal for most attacking metrics this term, while the Gunners have also conceded fewer goals than the Cityzens in the league despite a shoddier xG against per 90 tally.
Man City have won more corners and collected fewer bookings per 90 than Arsenal in 2022/23, and the Gunners finished the last encounter between the clubs (Jan 22) with five cards to City’s two.
Arsenal showcased their class and battling spirit on Sunday when they beat Man Utd in a five-goal thriller, though the Gunners probably should have won with more comfort after they mustered 25 attempts to their opponent’s six.
Mikel Arteta’s men have been posting silverware-winning standard statistics across a number of departments this season, and in 27 fixtures in all competitions so far, PSV (Europa League) and Newcastle (Premier League) are the only clubs that have kept Arsenal off the scoresheet.
However, when the Gunners last faced City a little over a year ago, they had just 28.8% possession and racked up just seven attempts. This evening’s clash will be a major indicator of their progress since then.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Following a couple of subdued performances, Erling Haaland was back to his old tricks for City against Wolves on Saturday, lodging four attempts on target during an impactful display at The Etihad Stadium.
Jack Grealish (two) was the only other City player to hit the target with some efforts against Wanderers and the 27-year-old winger has looked close to his threatening beset in recent weeks. Grealish is available at a generous 10/11 to rack up at least one shot on target this evening, which is certainly better value than Haaland’s odds in the same market.
Arsenal’s phenomenal front four were in dazzling form against Man Utd on Sunday and between them, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah had 22 attempts on goal.
Generous odds to hit at least one shot on target have been attached to all four members of the Gunners’ attacking quartet this evening. Nketiah (4/7), Martinelli (5/6), Saka (evens) and Odegaard (evens) are all reliable performers in the final third and all four have the ability to threaten a City defence that has been suspect at times this term.
Player Goals and Assists
Erling Haaland completed his fourth Premier League hattrick of the season with his treble against Wolves and the Norwegian hotshot has already surpassed the haul hit by last year’s Golden Boot winner, Mohamed Salah, after just 19 games for City.
Despite his epic record-breaking numbers, Haaland can still be backed at 4/5 to score anytime this evening and it’s worth noting that 18 of his 25 league goals in 2022/23 have been struck at The Etihad Stadium. Sounds like a banker to add to your bet builder.
Riyad Mahrez meanwhile, who scored twice in the previous round of the FA Cup against Chelsea, has clocked eight goal contributions in six appearances for City since the turn of the year. The in-form Algerian is 10/11 to score or assist later on.
Eddie Nketiah has been hitting high note after high note for Arsenal since taking the injured Gabriel Jesus’s place in the team, and the 23-year-old filled his boots with a brace against Man Utd on Sunday.
Nketiah has scored seven goals in his last seven runouts for the Gunners overall, and at 13/5 to notch anytime this evening, the Arsenal academy graduate comes equipped with a big price to do some damage again.
Bukayo Saka also looks great value at 9/5 to either score or make a goal. The right winger gave Arsenal the lead when the Gunners last played City a little over 12 months ago, and only Martin Odegaard has a higher number of goal contributions than the England international in 2022/23. Left-back is a bit of a problem position for Pep Guardiola and Saka has the tools to exploit that weakness.
Manchester City still keep the ball better than any other team in England and though the Cityzens are unlikely to match the 71.2% possession figures they achieved against Arsenal a year ago, they should still have the lion’s share of control at The Etihad.
If you’re looking to add a passing maestro to your bet builder, midfield metronome Rodri has logged over 90 passes in five of his last six starts in the league and the Spanish tempo-setter is priced at 8/11 to beat that target again this evening.
Nathan Ake has been doing a lot of good distribution work for City in their own third, though a 90-pass target might be a little rich for the Dutchman today. Ake could be a decent coupon filler at 4/11 to push through the 70-passes ceiling, however.
Oleksandr Zinchenko was outstanding in possession in each of Arsenal’s last two games against Man Utd and Tottenham, hitting 78 and 70 passes in two impactful displays in tricky fixtures for the Gunners.
As a former Manchester City employee, Zinchenko will be itching to put his stamp on this evening’s tie at his old stomping ground and the 26-year-old is an interesting prospect at 13/5 to play 70 or more passes again.
Manchester City Cards
Manchester City have the cleanest disciplinary record in the Premier League this season, though there could be more of an edge to their game than usual this season when they play their chief domestic challengers, Arsenal.
Only seven Premier League players have committed more fouls than Rodri this season, though his three yellow cards is a modest return for his prolific antics.
Even so, Rodri along with youngster Rico Lewis look like strong card candidates today with both players sue to have counters to stop and passing moves to disrupt.
Elsewhere, Erling Haaland can let his frustration boil over when he’s on the periphery of games. Two of his three cards were picked up in matches where he failed to find the net, so that could be something to watch out for later.
Bukayo Saka had Luke Shaw on toast when Arsenal beat Man Utd on Sunday and given time and space, the wide attacker could chew through the City defence in similar style.
If City are deployed with a back three back again today, Rodri will need to shuffle across to avoid Saka isolating Laporte in one-on-one situations and the Spanish destroyer could be drawn into some uncomfortable situations.
Similarly, Rico Lewis might be dragged into action near the right touchline when Gabriel Martinelli is on the ball, while Gunners’ centre-half Gabriel could be the one force to absorb Haaland’s ire if the Norwegian feels the game is passing him by.
Match-Ups to watch
Rodri vs Bukayo Saka
Rico Lewis vs Gabriel Martinelli
Erling Haaland vs Gabriel
Arsenal fullbacks Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko should have their mettle tested to the full by City wing wizards Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez this evening.
White was hooked at half time last weekend when he failed to keep United’s Marcus Rashford shackled and he could find the going just as tough against foul-drawing expert, Jack Grealish.
Former teammates Zinchenko and Mahrez should be locked in an intriguing battle down the City right, while hard-pressing midfielder Martin Odegaard will be trying to put the squeeze on the inexperienced Rico Lewis.
Jack Grealish has been drawing more fouls than any of his City teammates this term thanks to his unique slaloming dribbling style, and Ben White could be the latest marker to fall for Grealish’s body feints this evening.
Oleksandr Zinchenko went walkabout from a positional sense against Man Utd, though chances are the Ukrainian will need to be positioned squarely at left back and touch-tight to Mahrez to combat the Algerian’s penetrative powers.
Rico Lewis meanwhile, has been collecting his fair share of bumps and bruises in his full-back/midfield hybrid role for City and the teenager could have Martin Odegaard for close company later today, especially when Arsenal try to engage their famous high press.
Match-Ups to watch
Ben White vs Jack Grealish
Oleksandr Zinchenko vs Riyad Mahrez
Martin Odegaard vs Rico Lewis
My Bet Builder Picks of the pack
Taking a look through the stats there’s surely some value in the betting markets in this game. Here’s just a few selections that tickled my fancy and all five would come in as an 11/1 bet builder. Not bad. Pick and choose whichever selections you’d like though.
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Erling Haaland has 25 goals in 18 Premier League appearances.
He has 4 hat tricks this season.
Arsenal have an xG against of 1.17.
Bukayo Saka averages 0.72 shots on target P/90 from 2.11 shots.
Saka scored when Arsenal last played City.
Left back is a problem area for Pep’s team.
Saka has registered at least 1 shot on target in 9 og his last 11 appearances for club and country.
Martin Odegaard averages 2.84 shots P/90.
This selection would have won in 5 of his last 6 Premier League outings.
He registered 6 shots against both Man United and West Ham, and 3 against both Tottenham and Wolves.
Ben White averages 0.71 fouls P/90, and has received 4 cards this season.
He struggled against the pace and trickery of Marcus Rashford last week, and was booked for a foul.
Up against Jack Grealish’s dribbling (4.34 attempted P/90) who is fouled 3.11 times P/90.