Is Arsenal vs Man City A Festive Title Decider?
Arsène Wenger believes 80 points could be enough for Arsenal to win the Premier League title this season. It’s been 5 seasons since it was won with as few as 80 points but the Arsenal manager believes the race will be close this season.
So far the big teams have shunned the chances presented to them to pull away from the chasing crowd and Arsenal and Manchester City are 2 and 3 points respectively behind Leicester. There is a real possibility that one or both clubs could be anything up to 6 points behind The Foxes by 10pm on Monday night and Leicester has the form of Mahrez and Vardy to thank for that.
“If you look at the results it looks as though the consistency will be the main priority in this league because every week you are surprised by the results. We have really established a good run so for us it’s important to continue that. It is a massive game [on Monday]. When we play at home you want to win because we are ambitious and we feel we have the chance to come out in a strong position after Christmas.” – Arsene Wenger
“It will be a very tight game because if you look at the numbers since the start of the season, offensively and defensively the numbers are very close. Manchester City has huge individual potential with David Silva and Sergio Aguero coming back and so we will need a top, top-level team performance.”
Arsenal’s last meeting with Man City saw the Gunners record an impressive 2-0 win at Etihad Stadium in January. It was a watershed victory for Wenger’s men and finally showed that this squad can not only compete with the best but beat them also. Both sides have had their injury problems this year but City have looked defensively suspect at times and have also been lucky to scrape wins against some very poor sides.
Despite their rough November Arsenal have managed to keep pace with the leaders and also pull ahead of Man City. A win against City on Monday night would place Arsenal as favourites for the title you would feel. Alexis Sanchez could be fit for the visit of City and that will only improve Arsenal’s chances. The Gunners are quite strong at home and have picked up some momentum in recent weeks. Usually Gooners would be feeling quite nervous ahead of such matches but not this time. This time we’ll head into the match expecting a win and you can bet on Arsenal to deliver the perfect early Christmas present and set Arsenal up for a title challenge in the New Year.
Leicester have an incredibly tough post-Christmas run and for that reason Arsenal have to have a solid December. Leicester are a good side who have been playing phenomenal stuff but let’s be realistic, they don’t have the squad or the experience to last the distance. A win for Arsenal on Monday night will put pressure on Man City who happen to play Leicester on the 29th December, just three days after the Foxes play Liverpool in the Boxing Day fixtures. I’m hoping for a Leicester win or a draw.
Ranieri’s side have four fixtures in January, two against teams tipped for relegation who will be desperate to rack up some points and against Tottenham who, as hard as it is to say, are a team full of quality and match winning ability. Even if they manage to escape with enough points to be in the mix for the title their first three games in February are Liverpool at home then away trips to Man City and Arsenal, so far the only side to beat them.
Liverpool could go either way but I wouldn’t expect Leicester to come away with anything from the two games after that. I suspect that by the end of February at the latest Leicester will have dropped into fourth place and will ultimately finish in the Europa spots if they are lucky. They could strengthen in January but I don’t think they’re the sort of club to drop a load of cash halfway through the season. Anything above 8th is a phenomenal season for them and they deserve all the plaudits they are getting.
After Christmas I believe we’ll see a two horse race between Arsenal and Man City and when we get to the business end of the season we’ll look back at Monday night as a defining point in the race. No winners will be crowned after Monday but if Arsenal emerge victorious I think they’ll start to smell the title.
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