Rob Eddy provides his three best bets for Sunday's meeting of last season's top two sides in the Premier League.
Champions Manchester City visit last season’s Premier League runners-up Arsenal on Sunday for an Emirates showdown.
The Gunners entered the weekend as one of only two unbeaten teams in the top flight – alongside north London neighbours Tottenham – and have the bonus of knowing that a win here would see them leapfrog the Citizens and potentially grab top spot for the first time this season.
Hard to pick a winner
The recent records in this fixture point to an away win. Pep Guardiola’s City side have won their last 12 league meetings with Arsenal, but the all-conquering Citizens suffered their first defeat of the campaign at Wolves last weekend as they went down 2-1.
That ended their perfect start in the league, while they had also been beaten in the Carabao Cup at Newcastle previously. Rodri serves the third and final game of a three-match ban here and his absence is going to hurt the champions.
Indeed, it may allow Arsenal’s big-money summer arrival Declan Rice to put his stamp on the game instead. Rice scored the decisive go-ahead goal at the Emirates against Manchester United earlier in the season and will be keen to show he can help the Gunners close the gap on City this season.
Mikel Arteta is sweating on the fitness of key wide pair Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli and, as with City, absences could be key. England winger Saka has scored in Arsenal’s last two home clashes with City.
If Arteta can call upon one or both of Saka and Martinelli it will be a boost. Arsenal have failed to beat Manchester City in the Premier League since 2015 but they can at least take a point in what should be an entertaining game.
Goals a theme at the Emirates
Arsenal have been watertight on the road in the league this season and are yet to concede a goal in three games.
it’s a different story at the Emirates though, with no clean sheet in four games that have produced 15 goals. A pair of 2-2 draws against Fulham and Tottenham have flanked the 3-1 win over United here recently.
Indeed, both teams have scored in all four of Arsenal’s home league games, with their only shutout coming when they beat PSV 4-0 in the Champions League in September.
City have scored 17 Premier League goals in seven games, and can be relied on to offer plenty going forward again.
The goals could once again be flowing at the Emirates come Sunday afternoon where they are averaging more than three per game so far this season.
Foden in form and a threat
Phil Foden is enjoying a fine start to the season for City, taking his chance in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne.
Including his goal for England against Scotland at Hampden Park last month, Foden has opened the scoring three times in his last six starts. He did it again in the midweek Champions League win over Leipzig, arriving late into the box to provide a neat finish.
Now 23, Foden is surely going to find that his role in this City side is an ever-increasing one with the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan departed and de Bruyne sidelined.
If this is a game of chances, Foden should get some of those and he looks a good bet to be the first on the scoresheet at 8/1.
Draw @ 12/5
Total Goals Over 3.5 @ 2/1
Phil Foden First Goalscorer @ 8/1