Arsenal look to take advantage as Man City host Liverpool

By on November 23, 2023

The international break is finally over and the Premier League returns this weekend with an exciting schedule of top flight football. Fans have some mouth-watering matches to look forward to as four of the top five go head-to-head.

League leaders and defending champions Manchester City entertain second-placed Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. Fourth-placed Tottenham then take on fifth-placed Aston Villa in north London on Sunday afternoon. With all of their nearest rivals playing each other, this presents Arsenal with a golden opportunity to cement their place near the top of the table when they take on Brentford on Saturday evening.

With just three points separating the top five in the Premier League table, things couldn’t be tighter and this weekend’s games could play a crucial role in how the table shapes up heading into the festive period. Let’s take a closer look at the three games at the top of the table this weekend….

Man City vs Liverpool

Let’s start with the big top-of-the-table clash between Man City and Liverpool, who face-off at the Etihad at 12.30pm on Saturday. This game is going to be a cracker so we expect a packed house at the Etihad, but you can still buy Man City vs Liverpool tickets online if you hurry.

City have shown signs of inconsistency lately. They lost back-to-back league games against Wolves and Arsenal last month and just as they got back on track with three consecutive wins, they were then held to a 4-4 draw by Chelsea before the break.

While it’s not the end of the world to draw at Stamford Bridge, this is the type of game Man City would usually close-out having led twice during the match. Rodri scored what looked to be a late winner for the visitors but City conceded a penalty deep into stoppage time to give Chelsea the chance to snatch a dramatic draw.

The result has left Man City with just a one point lead at the top of the table. Liverpool sit joint second – ahead of Arsenal on goal difference – so they can leapfrog City with a win at the Etihad tomorrow. Jurgen Klopp’s side appear to have rediscovered their form after a tough 2022/23 campaign. Liverpool are still a work in progress after rebuilding their midfield in the summer but are just one point off the lead following their 3-0 win over Brentford before the break.

Team news

Man City are still without Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Gomez due to long-term injuries. Erling Haaland picked up a knock while away with Norway so he’ll need to be assessed but he’s expected to be fit.

John Stones is a doubt with a knee injury while Nathan Ake will also need a late fitness test along with mifielders Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes.

Liverpool have fitness issues of their own to worry about as Ryan Gravenberch and Ibrahima Konate are doubts for the game. Thiago Alcantara and Andrew Robertson remain out while Joe Gomez needs a late fitness test. However, Curtis Jones should return while Kostas Tsimikas is expected to be available.

Prediction: Man City 2-2 Liverpool

Tottenham vs Aston Villa

Aston Villa will look to continue their excellent form under Unai Emery when they take on Tottenham in North London on Sunday afternoon. Spurs enjoyed a superb start to life under new boss Ange Postecoglou and briefly sat top of the table. However, they hit a blip before the break as they lost heavily at home to Chelsea before conceding two late goals to lose at Wolves two weeks ago.

Those results have seen Tottenham drop down to fourth but they’re still just two points off leaders Man City, so they can reinforce themselves as possible title contenders with a win over Villa this weekend.

The Villains head to the capital off the back of an impressive run of form that sees them sitting just three points off the pace following a 3-1 win over Fulham last time out. Emery has done a terrific job at Villa Park and they won’t be easy opposition for Spurs on Sunday.

Team news

Tottenham will be without influential duo James Maddison and Micky van de Ven after they picked up injuries earlier this month against Chelsea. Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon, Manor Solomon and Richarlison are also unavailable for the Londoners.

Cristian Romero and Yves Bissouma are suspended while Destiny Udogie faces a late test on a muscle injury so Tottenham have plenty of selection issues to contend with.

As for Villa, they’ll be without Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia due to long-term injuries. Diego Santos, Matty Cash, John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey are also doubts for the trip to North London.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Aston Villa

Brentford vs Arsenal

With all of their closest rivals competing against one another this weekend, Arsenal have the perfect opportunity to cement their position in the table. The Gunners currently sit joint second – behind Liverpool on goal difference and just one point adrift of leaders City. Therefore, they could go top with a win over Brentford if their rivals draw at the Etihad.

Mikel Arteta is desperate to go one better this year after going so close to winning the title last season and he knows Arsenal cannot afford to throw away cheap points. Brentford away is a tricky game but it’s one Arsenal need to win if they’re to be serious title contenders again this campaign.

The Gunners eased past Burnley 3-1 at home last time out but Brentford will pose a much tougher threat at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday. The Bees lost 3-0 away to Liverpool two weeks ago but that loss came off the back of impressive wins over Burnley, Chelsea and West Ham so they are more than capable of causing Arsenal problems.

Team news

Arsenal will assess Gabriel Jesus after he made his return from injury with Brazil on Wednesday. Martin Odegaard should be back from a knock while Ben White is also expected to return after missing the win over Burnley. David Raya won’t feature against his parent club so Aaron Ramsdale returns in goal.

Fabio Vieira is suspended after being sent off against Burnley while Emile Smith Rowe, Thomas Partey and Jurrien Timber remain on the sidelines due to long-term injury problems.

Brentford will continue to be without striker Ivan Toney due to his ban. Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Kevin Schade, Nathan Collins, Mikkel Damsgaard and Josh Dasilva are also unavailable due to injury.

Prediction: Brentford 1-2 Arsenal