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Manchester City and Arsenal meet in titanic title-chasing clash

28 March 2024 – by Ross Barker

man city arsenal foden odegaard
Manchester City can leapfrog title rivals Arsenal with a win here

Pep Guardiola’s men have enjoyed a phenomenal record over the Gunners in recent years
Arsenal sit top of the league but could be third on Sunday should City and Liverpool win

Our prediction is Manchester City to win (correct score below)


These are the fixtures that football fans live for, when two teams chasing each other for the Premier League crown go head-to-head in what promises to be a heavyweight clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City remain on the coattails of Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the league, although a win would be enough to overtake the Gunners here. Liverpool host Brighton in the earlier kick-off and will be four points clear of City should the Reds win.

Like the other teams challenging at the top, City’s fixture list is jam-packed over the next month or so and they’ll need every area of their squad firing on all cylinders. They have a number of injury concerns to contend with here.

Arsenal have a poor record against Manchester City, although they face a golden opportunity to land a killer blow to their title rivals here.

A win would boost their confidence to sky-high levels and could give them the motivation they need to go on and claim their first league title in 20 years.

All statistics point to a City victory, but football often throws up surprises on the grandest of occasions.


Reasons to be cheerful:

Won 12 of their last 13 meetings with Arsenal

Unbeaten in 38 home games, stretching back to November 2022

Reasons to be fearful:

Lost to Arsenal earlier in the season

Face several defensive injury concerns

Manchester City enter into this clash with a headache in defence.

Kyle Walker withdrew from international duty with England last week, while John Stones followed suit a few days later. News coming out later in the week also suggests that Manuel Akanji faces a late fitness test.

Therefore, we expect City to shuffle their resources at the back, which could present an opportunity for Arsenal to take advantage. That said, the likes of Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol and Nathan Ake remain excellent options for Pep Guardiola to call upon.

In truth, City enter this game as favourites regardless of injuries. They have an astonishing record against the Gunners in recent seasons, although they lost to Mikel Arteta’s men earlier in the season.

City have scored in their last 57 home games in all competitions, and with a star-studded attack on display, you’d expect that to continue here.

Star Man – Erling Haaland

Compared to last season’s exploits, Erling Haaland’s goalscoring record has gone slightly under the radar this campaign. That said, he needs one more for 30 for the season, proving that he remains their driving force.


Reasons to be cheerful

Claimed their first win in 13 against City earlier in the season

Won their past eight league games, scoring 33 goals

Reasons to be fearful

Lost their last seven away trips to the Etihad

Have several injury precautions to consider

Arsenal have a fantastic opportunity to set down a marker for their title rivals this weekend.

If they could go to the Etihad and claim three points, it would arguably be their biggest league victory in 20 years, because it could help them go on and lift the trophy in May.

That’s the scale of the task for Mikel Arteta, who is yet to taste an away league victory against City. With Liverpool playing Brighton just before this one kicks off, the Gunners face the prospect of slipping from 1st to 3rd should they lose here.

In terms of the players available, Bukayo Saka is expected to shake off a knock that saw him withdraw from the England camp this week, while defender Gabriel is also thought to be fit enough to start.

This will be the acid test for Arsenal, who have scored 33 and conceded just four from their last eight games. They are the league’s most in-form team, but they will need a mammoth performance to continue that run here.

Star Man – Martin Odegaard                                              

The Norwegian playmaker is excellent at finding spaces in tight areas, picking passes in the final third and making a difference when it matters. Saka, Martinelli and others all play better when Odegaard is on form.


City are favourites to overtake their rivals here

Expect chances at both ends of the pitch

Three or more goals in the game

These teams have scored 18 goals in their last five league meetings, proving that attack is often the best way to win these crunch clashes near the top of the table.

Both teams possess exceptional forward players and we expect plenty of goals here too. The onus will be on Manchester City, being the home team, and are likely to put the pressure on from the first minute.

Arsenal will have their chances, especially having scored so many goals of late, but Manchester City remain the favourites to claim three points.

Our Prediction: Manchester City to win 3-2