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Rich 12th Jan 2013 - 22:45

Super Sunday to end on damp squib? - Betting Preview

Under Arsene Wenger's stewardship, Arsenal FC have been a perennial title contender and Champions League team, however for the first time under the mercurial Frenchman, his style, stubbornness and decision are being consistently questioned, and whilst the north London club find themselves six points away from fourth, games in hand will be crucial.

Of course, the difficult thing with games in hadn is that, whilst they provide a ray of hope, they must be won, and as Chelsea found out recently against QPR, even those that look like simple home games can often provide shock defeats. A strong festive period saw Arsenal continue to push their rivals, but a poor 1-1 draw to Southampton on New Year's Day will have been a blow, only compounded in their failure to make the most of their 2-1 FA Cup lead at Swansea, which resulted in a replay set for this coming Wednesday.

For Man City, worries of unnecessary games are no longer, as their comfortable victory over Watford saw them advance, and whilst their European journey came to a grinding halt, the Etihad Stadium's faithful can breathe a sigh of relief that they can focus on a title challenge, as they find themselves trailing their bitter rivals United by seven points.

A trip to the Emirates is never easy, and with the last three games between this pair finishing 0-0, 1-0, and 1-1, it is not a fixture conducive to goals. With only five goals in their past six meetings, there have been nearly as many dismissals (4) in that time. Having said that, the Gunner's discipline ranks amongst the league's best, and may see them stay clear of potential issues as a host of former Arsenal players return.

Whilst Samir Nasri is still suspended, left back Gael Clichy is expected to start, and will be out to show his former employers what they are missing. Manchester City's biggest loss is perhaps Yaya Toure, who along with his brother Kolo, has departed tot eh Africa Cup of Nations, whilst a knee injury has sideline dynamic forward Kun Aguero for another week at least. Arsenal's big fitness worry is Olivier Giroud, whose knee cut led to a substitution at the Liberty Stadium last week, and may see him out again.

After Roberto Mancini recently spoke of his disappointment in not signing Robin van Persie from Arsenal, Carlos Tevez has stated he uses that as motivation to improve and reach his full potential as a Citizen. Tevez's form has been patchy at best throughout his stay at City, but has shown commitment this season, and will be the focus of the attack as they travel to the capital.

Whilst Tevez has been the subject of many column inches this season, he trails Theo Walcott heavily, as the young England winger has demanded a position move, and rewarded his manger with a hat-trick once he was finally obliged. Whilst Walcott has given Gunners fans moments of delight this year, he has also provided many of despair in his oft seen lack of composure. His recent form has shown that a more central role does appear to suit, and will continue to improve with time in the position.

Coverage of the game begins on Sky Sports 1 at 15:30, kicking-off half an hour late, and we are offering over 100 pre-match and in-play markets, so stay with William Hill - the Home of Betting.

OPTA Facts & Stats

  • There have been four red cards in the last five Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Manchester City.
  • Manchester City have failed to score in each of their last five Premier League visits to the Emirates Stadium.
  • There have been just five goals scored in the last five meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and City.
  • There have been just five goals in the last six meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and City at the Emirates Stadium.
  • City have conceded a higher proportion of goals from outside the box than any other team in the Premier League (26%).
  • Roberto Mancini's side have conceded 58% of their goals from set plays, a divisional high.
  • Man City have allowed the opposition just 56 shots on target against them this season, the fewest in the top flight.
  • Arsenal players have made 12 individual errors leading directly to goals this season, more than any other team.
  • The Gunners have earned just 17 yellow cards and one red in 20 league games this season, the fewest cards in the top flight.
  • Arsenal has missed their last three penalties taken against Manchester City, starting with the infamous Pires/Henry mix up at Highbury.

Best Bet: Both Teams to Score: No - 13/10

Worth a Punt: Under 1.5 goals: 10/3, Red Card in the Match: Yes - 11/4



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