It is difficult to overstate the importance of tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
In what is one of the most open title races in years, the bookmakers still believe the Premier League trophy will end up at one of these clubs. Man City are 13/8 with Coral and Arsenal 2/1, although Chelsea (4/1), and Liverpool (8/1) to a lesser degree, haven’t been totally disregarded.
Arsenal have made a fantastic start to the season, suffering just two league defeats, and they thoroughly deserve to be at the top of the table. However, I feel that their honeymoon period could be about to end tomorrow afternoon.
It has been a stop-start season so far for City and Manuel Pellegrini has been pulling his hair out at his side’s away form. Things have improved in recent weeks, though, and his men will take huge confidence from Tuesday’s win at Bayern Munich.
City have now won five of their last six in all competitions, but it is their home record which will send shivers down the spine of the Arsenal squad.
A flawless record from seven league games at the Etihad is impressive enough, but they have also averaged over four goals per game during that spell and conceded just two.
It’s not as if they’ve only been playing the weaker sides either. They have comfortably beaten Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham and have scored 16 in their last three without conceding.
Arsenal have the best away record in the division, but United are the only side they’ve travelled to in the top nine, and they lost there.
The Gunners were also outplayed by Napoli on Wednesday night and having only managed a draw against Everton last weekend I think they are going to struggle against a red-hot City side.
Pellegrini made the decision to rest some key members of his team for the Bayern game and he can be rewarded with an eighth home victory.
The 4/5 with Coral should be snapped up and I also wouldn’t put anyone off buying City’s supremacy at 0.85 with Sporting Index. Their lowest margin of victory at the Etihad so far has been two goals.
Brendan Rodgers will be pleased with the position he finds his side in at the moment with Liverpool sitting second in the league, five points behind Arsenal.
Just when you think the Merseysiders are in trouble they bounce back with a big win, and they will be hoping to pile the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas when they travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Tottenham have been inconsistent this term, yet a win would move them level on points with Liverpool.
I was worried for Spurs after they were taken apart 6-0 by City, but to their credit they have responded well, taking a point against United and then notching back-to-back away wins at Fulham and Sunderland.
Their home form in the league has been worrying, with just three wins from seven games, but they have a very strong record against Liverpool at White Hart Lane and will be buoyed by Steven Gerrard’s absence.
The 6/4 on offer with Coral looks fair value.
Manchester City at 4/5 with Coral
Buy Manchester City supremacy at 0.85 with Sporting Index
Tottenham at 6/4 with Coral