Arsenal vs Man City
Up against Man City for the first time in the league this season, and they’ve got a different beast in Jack Grealish, a serious test of White’s credentials. Grealish 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.
Another interesting angle re Grealish is that his attempted take-on stats seem to have spiked in recent weeks. He’s attempted to take on his opponents 16 times across his last three Premier League appearances. He tried a total of seven take-ons against Spurs away from home and he gave Emerson Royal a stern test.
Grealish also drew a huge seven fouls during that game at Spurs. The winger has managed to draw three or more fouls in seven of his last nine Premier League matches.
Takehiro Tomiyasu played at right-back in the FA Cup match between Man City and Arsenal at the end of January and he ended up making three fouls during the match. He only averages 1.05 fouls per game in the Premier League so it shows what a job against the likes of Grealish can cause.
Ilkay Gundogan averages 0.81 shots on target p/90, from 2.35 shots. And he comes into this one having had four shots against Aston Villa with all four being on target.
He’s adopted much more of a box to box role in Pep Guardiola’s unorthodox 3 at the back, he’s also playing in more advanced positions than the likes of Bernardo Silva for example.
Gundogan has had at least one shot in 11 of his last 12 appearances in the Premier League which is a great run. He’s even had two or more shots in three of his last four which is good going.
He’s had shots against Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs, so he’s certainly not shy when it comes to trying his luck in the big games.
Arsenal at the Emirates love a good corner. They’ve average 7.40 corners on home territory, up from 5.71 overall.
You might be thinking it’s Man City though, well Arsenal still managed 3 corners to City’s 0 in their FA Cup tie last month. In that, Arsenal were playing a much weaker side and without Gabriel Martinelli.
Martinelli is a keen dribbler and makes wide runs galore for Arsenal. He attempts 4.27 dribbles p/90 and is adept on both his left and right foot.
That means he’ll be more than keen to take on Kyle Walker or Rico Lewis and test them down the wing. More action down the wing means more action at the corner flag.
Saka isn’t far behind with the dribble count, making 4.05 p/90. Again, more than capable of making deep runs and crossing in with his right, as he proved with his cross to Trossard against Brentford.
With two wide men willing to take the ball to the line, and Guardiola potentially playing a 3 at the back to send Arsenal’s build up play down the wings, I’m confident in backing a few home corners.
This is a selection where it’s not just based off statistics, and more so situationally and how you can envision the match playing out.
This is a high-stakes affair, make no bones about it.
Even if we do look at the stats, there’s been 13 cards in the last 3 meetings between the sides. 2 reds as well.
Arsenal are in a position that they haven’t found themselves in in years, genuine title contenders and they’ll be desperate to hold Man City off. City know that a win could create panic in the red side of North London, yet a defeat for themselves could cause a heap of frustration.
Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola are two managers who show tonnes of emotion on the touchline, which often boils over, and they’ll have their own sets of players well up for this one.
There are so many scenarios where you could see cards being brandished. The often fouled Jack Grealish running at Ben White all evening, Rodri and Partey battling in midfield, Xhaka always playing on the edge, Zinchenko facing his former side (Was booked at the Etihad in the FA Cup tie) and Haaland vs the two centre halves in Gabriel and Saliba.
The Emirates has been criticised for its atmosphere in the past, but the Arsenal fans have brought it to another level this season in fairness. Their performances will have helped for sure, but the extra pressure from the crowd will only help aid bookings.
It might only take a single goal to see this one boil over. If Arsenal go ahead and have the fans in celebratory mood, City make become frustrated and the Arsenal players may even take yellow cards for the team just to see out a huge three points. The same can be said for City, them going ahead could cause panic in the Arsenal players and nervousness in the stands. Ben White commits an average of 0.70 fouls p/90, and has received 4 bookings this season.