Arsenal finally ready to fulfil their potential
Arsenal v Man City | Premier League betting preview | 05/01/2011
The race for the 2010/11 Premier League title could take another absorbing twist in North London as Manchester City travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal.
A run of six wins in eight matches, including nine points from nine over the Christmas period, has catapulted City into second place in the table and looking like genuine contenders not only for a place in the Champions League, but for the title itself.
On the road City are not crumbling like in recent seasons. They have won four of their last five trips away from the City of Manchester Stadium and are a team bang in form. Only former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor is unavailable for selection for Roberto Mancini as he has a full subscription of superstars to choose from.
There'll be little love lost between the two sides at kick off. The infamous 4-2 game in Manchester last season, infamous for Emmanuel Adebayor's idiotic full length of the pitch celebration, was the pre-cursor for Arsenal's 3-0 triumph there this season. In a bad blooded game City had a player sent-off after only five minutes.
The betting for this tantalising New Year's treat sees Arsenal installed as favourites at 10/11. City do fancy their chances and are available at 3/1 while the draw is 5/2.
Arsenal's Christmas has been a pretty pleasing one. The only blip over the festive period was a disappointing 2-2 draw at Wigan (after Arsene Wenger made sweeping changes) but this result was sandwiched between a fabulous 3-1 home victory over Chelsea and an impressively hard fought 3-0 win at St Andrews over Birmingham.
Saturday's bruising encounter in the west midlands left manager Arsene Wenger doubly happy as his squad came through unscratched. Lee Bowyer's stamp on Bacary Sagna and Roger Johnson's lunge on Cesc Fabregas could have resulted in more serious injuries for Wenger's men but there's no new injury worries going into this match.
City have been free scoring in recent matches but the team, and Carlos Tevez in particular, seemed to leave their shooting boots at home against Blackpool on New Year's Day. The usually red hot Argentine squandered a number of guilt edged chances and even missed a penalty, at one point he was seen to be apologising to the Eastlands faithful.
City will need Tevez to improve his finishing if they are to defeat the Gunners away in the league for the first time since 1975. Tevez is priced at 9/2 to open the scoring at the Emirates and can be backed at 6/5 to score anytime and add to his 12 league goals this campaign.
Arsenal were once again prompted to victory at St Andrews with a goal by Samir Nasri. The mercurial midfielder seems to have recovered from a mini slump, by his own high standards this season, and inspired his side to a very welcome three points. Nasri is priced at 7/1 to open the scoring and 2/1 to notch anytime.
One man glad to find the back of the net was Arsenal's Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman is nearing full fitness and a goal will have done his confidence the world of good. RVP is 5/4 to add to his goal against Birmingham with another against City.
In my opinion I can see there being quite a few goals in this clash. Some matches between the teams at the top can fail to deliver but with the deficiencies in defence I can see a pretty high scoring affair. Over 2.5 goals is priced at 4/5 but with both teams a little top heavy in terms of attack, over 3.5 goals at 21/10 should not be discounted.
In terms of the result I fancy Arsenal to just nick it. Buoyed by their defeat of Chelsea in their last home game I reckon Wenger's men could have the edge.
Arsenal to win 3-1 pays out at 14/1.