Kick-off: 1230, 01/01/2022
Stadium: Emirates Stadium
TV: BT Sport 1
Two of the form teams meet in the first Premier League game of 2022, but Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has been ruled out of a reunion with Pep Guardiola having tested positive for Covid for a second time in 21 months.
Leaders Manchester City are seeking an 11th successive win in the top flight as they look to go 11 points clear at the top of the table.
The champions have beaten Saturday’s opponents without conceding in their last five meetings and a sixth win to nil catches the eye at 2.87 as our first Arsenal vs Man City prediction.
A 5-0 Boxing Day rout of Norwich gave Arsenal a fourth successive victory, despite the absence of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and strengthened their top-four hopes as they face City four points clear of their nearest Champions League rivals.
Emile Smith Rowe scored for a fourth straight Premier League game in that win at Carrow Road and is 3.3 to get on the scoresheet once again.
Arteta was left purring about his players’ performance at Norwich, saying: “I’m very happy. It is not easy to win away from home in this league, the way we performed and how dominant we were, it was really impressive.
“I think in general, collectively and individually, we had some big performances and you don’t win 5-0 away from home if you don’t do that, so I am happy with all the boys.”
That said, Arsenal have yet to prove themselves against elite teams in the Premier League teams this season, losing four of their five matches against traditional top-six sides.
They lost 5-0 at the Etihad in August, six days after losing 2-0 at home to Chelsea, and in November lost 4-0 at Liverpool, so they remain some way behind the best teams as things stand.
In their favour is the fact that Tuesday’s home clash with Wolves was postponed because of Covid cases in the visitors’ camp, so they should be fresher than City, who won 1-0 at Brentford 24 hours later.
However, Guardiola has great strength in depth to freshen things up if necessary.
Four of the champions’ 10 away games this season have been won either 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 and four of the last five wins against the north Londoners have been by one of those scorelines, so Arsenal vs Man City odds.
Last Arsenal line-up: Ramsdale, Tierney, White, Gabriel, Holding, Partey, Odegaard, Xhaka, Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli.
Manchester City Odds
Guardiola played down City’s chances of a fifth title in six seasons after they moved eight points clear with a narrow win in west London.
Phil Foden, restored to the starting line-up alongside Jack Grealish after a breach of discipline, scored the winner and had a goal disallowed, as did Aymeric Laporte in a second half which also saw Kevin de Bruyne hit the post.
However, Guardiola emphasised that the title race is far from over with half the season still to run.
He said: “We won the game, we are on a good run, but it’s the end of December. There are many games to go. We are eight points in front but there are 54 still to play for and many tough games still to play.
“I’m not going to believe anyone who says it’s already done. The teams we have with Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional.
“We have the distance not because they dropped points but because we won 10 in a row. But there are 54 points still to play for.”
One element that has been noticeable about City’s games on the road is the number of fast starts they make, having been ahead inside 15 minutes in four of their previous six and in front at the half-an-hour mark on each occasion.
Guardiola’s men were two up by the 12th minute when they faced the Gunners towards the end of August, so the visitors to score at least one in the first quarter of an hour catches the eye at 3.5 as the last of our Arsenal vs Man City betting tips.
Last Man City line-up: Ederson, Ruben Dias, Ake, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Silva, Fernandinho, Foden, Jesus, Grealish.
(Assist: Kieran Tierney)
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