Football Comment: Premier showdown overshadows Euro tests for title rivals

Trevor Steven
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MISSING out on top spot in their Champions League groups is no disaster for Arsenal and Manchester City, though there’s no doubt they were distracted in Europe by the prospect of tomorrow’s meeting.

Ideally the Gunners would have finished first but there’s no shame in losing at Napoli. They achieved their objective of qualifying for the last 16 and the Premier League is a big diversion. They’ll rarely have a better chance to head into the New Year with a lead in the table.

Domestic matters were even more of a distraction for City, who had already qualified before beating Bayern Munich. Boss Manuel Pellegrini certainly committed an oversight in failing to realise one more goal would have lifted them above the Germans. The episode revealed a lack of communication with his staff and was an opportunity missed.

City’s win means they have the momentum as they prepare to host Arsenal, and they need it too as the win is more important to them. They are six points behind and their away form is still up and down, so a home game like this is a great chance. I can’t see Arsenal winning and I’m sure Wenger would take a draw.

Trevor Steven is a former England international footballer who now works as a media commentator.