City can see off challenge of visiting Gunners

Expect another exciting game at the Etihad on Sunday
BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEWS MAN CITY V ARSENAL AND NEWCASTLE V SOUTHAMPTON

MANCHESTER City are the form team in the Premier League after 12 games unbeaten and will be disappointed not to be top.

Having been level on points with Chelsea on New Year’s Day, courtesy of seven straight wins, their lack of available strikers and moments of weakness at the back have seen them lose ground thanks to stalemates against Burnley and Everton.

The gap between them and Chelsea now stands at two points – and it could be five by the time City line up for Sunday’s crunch clash at home to Arsenal.

The Gunners remain the only team to have scored three goals in a league game at the Etihad during Pellegrini’s stint at the club, but that came in the thrilling 6-3 defeat last season.

Only Chelsea have won more Premier League away games at City than Arsenal, yet you would be a brave punter to take up the 3/1 offered on the visitors winning.

Arsene Wenger’s charges have moved up to fifth following a poor start, but realistically a top-four finish is the best the north Londoners can hope for.

Their form on the road has been shaky, with four wins and four defeats, while it’s easy to argue that without the inspirational Alexis Sanchez Arsenal would be struggling to finish in the first six.

They did beat City 3-0 in the Community Shield in August, but the Mancunians should have won at the Emirates in the reverse league tie back in September, and boast a formidable midfield and the division’s third-meanest defence.

Pellegrini has tasted defeat just twice in 29 home league games in charge of City and the 4/5 available with Betway on his men winning has to be the call.

The 6-3 result and the 2-2 earlier in the season prove this can be a high-scoring affair, but it’s worth remembering that seven of the last 10 meetings in all competitions have featured two goals or less.

Sporting Index have pitched total goals at 3.15-3.35 and, while I do anticipate a few in this one, in-play spread bettors may be able to get a more attractive quote.

Instead, have a small sell of the first match goal at 29 with Sporting Index. There’s been a goal in the 28th minute or less in the last five clashes between the two sides.

■ Pointers…
Manchester City at 4/5 with Betway
Sell the time of the first match goal at 29 with Sporting Index