One of the best English Premier League matches of the weekend takes place at Emirates Stadium in London on April 8 as Arsenal hosts Manchester City.
Arsenal needs all the points and goals they can get in their race for third place with Tottenham while this could be the last hurrah for City in their hopes to wrestle the title away from Manchester United.
Arsenal sits in third place in the league going into the weekend, level with Spurs, but one ahead of them in goal difference. Spurs travel to Sunderland on Apr. 7 and Arsenal will have to at least match their result to stay ahead of them. They also have to worry about Newcastle and Chelsea, who both go into the weekend just five points behind them. Arsenal currently owns third place in the table with 58 points from 18 wins, four draws and nine losses. Arsenal lost their last league game, 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers.
Manchester City is in second place with 71 points earned from 22 wins, five draws and four losses. However, they go onto this game five points back of league-leading Manchester United and a loss here could be fatal to City. United plays at home against Queens Park Rangers the same day and it’s possible they could have an eight-point lead by the end of the day. Man City managed a draw at home against Sunderland last time out with two goals in the last five minutes to claw back 3-3.
City manager Roberto Mancini will have to field an offensive line-up and he has several strikers to choose from in Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, and Mario Balotelli. He’ll have to play at least two of them to put the pressure on Arsenal’s weak defence. Aguero hopes to be able to play after missing last week’s game with an ankle injury. Since Tevez has returned to the club he’s been used strictly as a substitute. Mario Balotelli was involved in a traffic accident on Thursday, but reportedly wasn’t injured.
Mancini has said publicly that the title race may be over if his side loses to Arsenal and United beats QPR. And yes, it probably will be, but it’s not something any professional manager should admit to. The fans want to hear that their team is fighting until the end and until it’s mathematically impossible to win the crown, especially since City and United still meet each other at the end of April.
It looks like defender Joleon Lescott will return to the City squad after being out with an injured hip and Samir Nasri should also be back after missing last week’s game. For Arsenal, midfielders Francis Coquelin and Abou Diaby could be in the squad while midfielder Jack Wilshere is still out with an injury as is defender Per Mertesacker.
Man City beat Arsenal at home earlier in the season, but haven’t won at Arsenal since back in 1975. Arsenal has a long history of choking in the big games and City need to win desperately. Look for City to take this game by one goal in a closely fought contest.
Bookmaker William Hill is showing the latest odds of an Arsenal victory at 6/4 and a Man City win at 2/1with a draw at 2/1.