The top two in the Premier League clash for the first time this season on Friday night but it’s FA Cup progression that is the prize on offer as opposed to three Premier League points. The Gunners currently sit 5 points clear of City in the league which means this is a great opportunity for one of these teams to send out a message of intent in regards to the title race.
While Arsenal have taken giant strides forward under Mikel Arteta this season, a win at the Etihad would be viewed as another watershed moment for the Spaniard given the North London club were hammered 5-0 on their most recent visit here in 2021. In fact, a win of any description against Pep Guardiola’s side could be a huge momentum shifter for Arsenal given they’ve lost all of the previous 5 H2H encounters.
Pep Guardiola usually names very strong sides when it comes to the domestic cup competitions but of course, how could he not with the embarrassment of riches at his disposal. Cup goalkeeper Stefan Ortega is likely to come in for Ederson but with the likes of Mahrez, De Bruyne, and Haaland expected to start, City’s starting XI will still have an extremely threatening look to it.
As for Arteta’s Arsenal, more alterations are likely off the back of some ferocious league fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. New signing Leandro Trossard may make his full Gunners debut with the likes of Tomiyasu, Holding, Kiwior, Tierney; Vieira and back up goalkeeper Turner all possible starters.
City’s only home defeat this season came at the hands of Brentford just before the World Cup, while Arsenal’s only away defeat this term was a surprise loss at Old Trafford against an out of form Man United, an error Arsenal managed to put right at the weekend. I could give this game the big build up by saying “something must give” this evening but of course, there is always the possibility of a replay should the game end in a draw after 90 minutes. With only five draws between them in the league this season, that looks unlikely and with Arsenal likely to make a greater number of changes than the hosts, I’d have to side with a Manchester City win.
With tonight’s game a DOUBLE THE ODDS First Goalscorer match with Bar One Racing, Erling Haaland is likely to be the name on many punters FGS slip fresh off the back of his fourth hat-trick of the season at the weekend. The Norweigian striker is 2/1 to score first.
VERDICT: Man City (15/20)