Arsenal v Man City preview | Confirmed team news, Pepe to start please + prediction

By on December 28, 2019

freddie ljungberg arsenal

Arsenal can make a real statement by securing a positive result when we welcome Manchester City to the Emirates this afternoon.

Freddie Ljungberg got his first win since being installed as interim manager and ended Arsenal’s nine-game winless run with a 3-1 comeback victory over West Ham last Monday night.

We followed that up with another comeback on Thursday night as we came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege to progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League as group winners.

However, today’s game will be a different ball-game and if we go behind to this Man City side it could turn out to be a long afternoon for this fragile squad as confidence has been rock bottom in recent weeks.

City haven’t been at their best this season and the title is all-but gone for them as Liverpool are now 17 points ahead but they are still a formidable outfit on their day so Arsenal will need to be on top form to get a result.

We should be right up for the game as Chelsea’s defeat to Bournemouth yesterday has blow the top four wide open and we can move to within just four points of forth place with a win this afternoon.

Team news

Arsenal confirmed a big blow on Saturday with the news with Kieran Tierney requires surgery on a dislocated shoulder that he sustained against West Ham and has been ruled out for around three months.

Hector Bellerin has also been ruled out of today’s game with a hamstring injury while Granit Xhaka needs further rest after suffering concussion at the London Stadium last week.

Rob Holding remains out with a knee problem and Dani Ceballos isn’t ready to return just yet from his hamstring injury but Nicolas Pepe is passed fit after overcoming a minor knee issue.

I expect we’ll see plenty of changes from the side that beat Standard Liege with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Torreira, Gabriel Martinelli, Mesut Ozil, Bernd Leno and Calum Chambers all recalled.

As for Man City, they’ll be without Sergio Aguero due to a thigh injury and John Stones has been ruled out with a hamstring issue. Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain long-term absentees while David Silva is a doubt with a leg problem.

Preferred line-up

football formations

Expected Man City XI: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sterling, Mahrez, Jesus

Betting odds and prediction

Arsenal have struggled in this fixture as we’ve lost each of the last four meetings with City and I fear we’ll be on the wrong end of a beating if we start as poorly as we’ve done in recent games. Understandably, City are favourites to win with apuestas24 and the bookies don’t really give us a chance. Man City to win and both teams to score is 13/10 and realistically that’s the best bet here. However, the optimist in me think Arsenal can snatch a point and 2-2 looks good value at 14/1.

Ljungberg has to get this side playing with intensity from the first minute or City will run riot. It’s no good going 2-0 down and trying to claw things back in the second half as City are too good for that.

I do think it’s a positive that the title is realistically gone for them as Pep Guardiola will probably be focusing on the Champions League now. City’s defence is also vulnerable and I think Arsenal can cause them plenty of problems if we play to our potential. If we play with purpose and fight for every ball, I fancy us to get something from the game. A win might be beyond us given our injury problems but I’m going for a 2-2 draw.

Arsenal 2-2 Man City