The last time Arsenal and Manchester City matched up, it was clear who the better side was. But this isn’t late August anymore.
The Gunners will put their fine form to the ultimate test as they host English Premier League leader and title favorite Manchester City at the Emirates on New Year’s Day. They will hope to show off the marked progress made since a 5-0 loss to the Citizens on Aug. 28, when a first-half red card sabotaged Arsenal’s bid for a result.
Since the integration of some key summer signings, Arsenal (4th place, 35 pts) has surged into a Champions League spot on the heels of four straight wins. All four were pleasing to the eye as they topped Southampton, West Ham, Leeds United, and Norwich City by a combined 14-1 scoreline. However, the opponent will be of a different caliber this time around.
MORE: Betting picks for the Premier League weekend
Man City (1st place, 50 pts) enters on a whopping 10-match league winning streak which began with a 2-0 Manchester derby win in early November. Six of those 10 victories came via a clean sheet as Pep Guardiola’s squad appears virtually unbeatable. Now holding an eight-point lead atop the table, the next two games could be decisive in the title race as Arsenal and Chelsea will provide stiff competition and perhaps a window of opportunity for those below to gain ground should City slip.
How to watch Arsenal vs. Man City
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 1
- Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
- TV channel: USA Network
- Spanish-language TV: Universo
- Streaming: fuboTV, NBCSports.com (authenticated users)
The Saturday match between Arsenal and Man City from the Emirates will be broadcast on USA Network (English) and Universo (Spanish) in the USA.
It’s first match of a USA Network tripleheader on New Year’s Day with Jan. 1 marking the Premier League’s permament move to USA Network as its new English-language TV home.
MORE: What happened to NBCSN? EPL now on USA Network
Arsenal vs. Man City projected lineups
Arenal is again without the out-of-favor Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was allowed to travel early to join Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations. Sead Kolasinac will return to training in January from his long-term injury, while the trio of Calum Chambers, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Cedric are all out after positive COVID-19 tests.
That’s it for Arsenal, who looked fantastic against Norwich City last time out and has a mostly healthy squad. Alexandre Lacazette should continue to lead the line up front, with few changes expected from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. There will probably be no room once again for Nicolas Pepe with both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in great form on the wings.
Arsenal projected starting lineup (4-4-2, left to right): Ramsdale (GK) — Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, White — Partey, Xhaka — Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka — Lacazette.
MORE: Key facts to know about the transfer window opening
The Man City squad news is less about who is injured and more about predicting who from his bursting squad Pep Guardiola will select on any given day. Only John Stones and Kyle Walker have question marks around their availablility due to a lack of fitness, while Rodri is missing after a positive COVID-19 test. Otherwise, the entire selection of players is available to Guardiola. It’s possible that Joao Cancelo is given a break after suffering a recent assault, but there are no natural right backs to replace him unless Walker recovers in time.
Oleksandar Zinchenko was rested for the Brentford match, but should return to left back with Nathan Ake not exactly lighting the world on fire as his replacement. Fernandinho, who is no longer a regular starter in the side, could drop to the bench for Ilkay Gundogan, while Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez also see opportunities to make a return to the first-choice side.
Man City projected starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Ederson (GK) — Zinchenko, Laporte, Dias, Cancelo — Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva — Sterling, Jesus, Mahrez.
Arsenal vs. Man City betting pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Pep Guardiola has never lost to Arsenal in a Premier League match since taking charge of Man City in 2016. The last time Arsenal beat Man City in league play was December 2015, when Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott scored to beat Manuel Pellegrini’s side captained by Yaya Toure. Since that victory, it’s been two draws and 10 defeats, including nine straight losses for the Gunners. The last time these two teams matched up, Man City blasted the Gunners 5-0.
The situation is completely different now. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta seems to have finally found a consistent starting XI that clicks, and Man City’s recent run of dominant results against the Gunners will be challenged. Arsenal has won four league games in a row, and while it still has yet to prove its worth against a top Premier League side this season, now would represent the perfect time.
MORE: Football docuseries and other movies to watch for fans
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard are all in fine form, and the Gunners are a good enough footballing team that they should be able to keep pace with Man City in a shootout. And they should also be competitive in a lower-scoring contest — for all their attacking prowess, Pep Guardiola’s men are also defensively solid and more than comfortable winning 1-0 or 2-0 — which justifies a gamble on Arsenal and the +1 spread at plus-money. The stake is returned in the case of a one-goal Arsenal loss.
Pick: Arsenal +1 Asian Handicap (+100)
Prediction: Arsenal 1, Man City 1
- Moneyline: Arsenal +500 / Draw +360 / Man City -195
- Spread: Man City -1.5 (+150) / Arsenal +1.5 (-170)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -170 / Under +140
- Both teams to score: Yes -150 / No +115