Pep Guardiola refuses to give up on Man City's hopes of retaining the Premier League title

Premier League: Champions Face a Week of Destiny

Manchester City vs Arsenal

It may seem premature to say it’s now or never for Manchester City in their bid to retain the Premier League title, but their next eight days will almost certainly prove that way.

Home games against Arsenal and Chelsea, sandwiched between a visit to Goodison Park to take on Everton, is the task facing Pep Guardiola’s men.

The stark truth is they really need to triumph in all three to keep alive their hopes of becoming the first side to win back-to-back league titles since their city neighbours a decade ago.

Talking Points

The shocking Premier League 2019 news of the week came at St James’ Park where City largely outplayed Newcastle, scoring inside 24 seconds, only to lose, 2-1.

If leaders Liverpool had beaten Leicester 24 hours later, the race would have been all but over.

That the Merseysiders failed to do so, and displayed nerves at the same time, should have heartened Guardiola and his players.

Yet they will know better than anyone that ending the week five points off the summit means there is no room for another error.

Guardiola has told them as much, and that means winning all three league matches they face over the next week.

He knows they have been underperforming at times, stripping them of some of the invincibility they established last season.

Fixture congestion is the other main issue, emphasising again the crucial importance of the next eight days.

City have already played five more games than Liverpool, who were knocked out of the League Cup and FA Cup at the first hurdle. They are also guaranteed to play an additional two domestic cup matches this month and potentially a further three between now and May should they reach the FA Cup final.

Manchester City can win a fourth consecutive Premier League game against Arsenal

Manchester City celebrating goal at Arsenal on opening day

The repercussions of that fixture overload are already being felt. While City have the squad to cope and there is the prospect of building real winning momentum, a frantic schedule could increase the risks of fatigue and injuries.

Guardiola has described it as a ‘challenge’ in itself.

That challenge begins in earnest this week.

It is unquestionably their week of destiny.

History

Arsenal have not got a particularly good record at the Etihad Stadium.

Aside from a surprising 2-0 win there in January 2015, secured by goals from Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, the Gunners have not triumphed since 2010 – and that was a match in which City played 85 minutes with 10 men.

Although Arsenal have enjoyed success over their opponents in the FA Cup and Community Shield in recent seasons, they have only tasted victory once in their last eight meetings.

Last season, City beat Arsenal three times.

Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were on target in a 3-1 home league win before Guardiola’s men triumphed 3-0 twice in five days.

They cruised to victory in the League Cup final at Wembley before turning the tables on them again on their own turf by the same scoreline.

On that occasion, they were ruthlessly despatched in a one-sided first half in which Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Leroy Sane scored without reply.

On the opening day of this season, they were also comfortable winners at the Emirates when Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were the marksmen.

Despite their recent dominance, Arsenal still have the overall advantage with 96 wins to City’s 54.

The other 45 encounters have ended all square.

Betting Tip

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Manchester City vs Arsenal Asian Handicap City -2.00 @ 2.28
Feb 04, 00:30(GMT+8)

Considering their recent record against City, perhaps it should not surprise too many SBOBET fans that they are real outsiders with Premier League 2019 betting odds.

Indeed, you would not think this is a match between second and fourth when you consider City are priced 1X2 @ 1.27 and Arsenal @ 9.75. Even the draw offers @ 5.60.

Given both sides have a propensity to attack, over 3.75 goals will payout @ 2.17 and total goal 4-6 @ 2.17. Total goal 2-3 @ 2.32 is marginally more attractive.

The double chance Arsenal or draw @ 3.55 will appeal to chancers and those of a ‘diehard’ Arsenal persuasion, whereas a repeat of last season’s 3-1 home win is available @ 8.75.

A repeat of City’s opening day 2-0 success is available @ 8.00.

We pride ourselves with our great value Asian Handicap odds so Arsenal +1.50 @ 2.19 is worth a punt.

This is a match the home side must win, and I can’t see them slipping up.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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