6 October 2023
Arsenal vs Manchester City: a rivalry on the rise
It’s last season’s Premier League runner-up against the champions. It’s a team with a great history of success against the modern superpower. It’s fast becoming one of the more tasty rivalries of the modern era.
Welcome to Arsenal vs Manchester City.
Here’s what to look out for before they meet on Sunday – live on Showmax Pro, courtesy of SuperSport.
City in a mini-slump
It’s been two losses in the last two domestic games for Manchester City. Are we seeing a hint of vulnerability in this juggernaut of a club?
Losing to a resurgent Newcastle in the Carabao Cup was one thing. Following that up with a Premier League loss to a struggling Wolves team was something else entirely.
There was a positive result with a midweek win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League, but they did leave it late against a club they thrashed 7-0 last season.
A win against Arsenal would equal a recovery from a little dip. A loss would equal a worrying slump for Pep Guardiola.
A chance for Arsenal to get some points they didn’t get last season
The Gunners ended up five points behind Manchester City last season and missed out on six points from their two meetings with them. If you were to pinpoint where Arsenal lost the title last season, it was in those two games against City.
Up until their first fixture against each other last season, Arsenal had the upper hand in the title race until they hosted City in February. A 3-1 loss at the Emirates was a rude awakening of how much work they still had to do to compete with Guardiola’s team. Then a chastening 4-1 loss a couple of months later at the Etihad was essentially the end of their title challenge.
If Arsenal are going to develop into a side that wins the title, an improvement in results against City is a must.
The master vs the pupil
Mikel Arteta spent three years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach. It certainly looks like he picked up a lot.
After Arsenal parted ways with Unai Emery, many eyebrows were raised when they then turned to an ex-player with no experience as a manager. Since then, the Spaniard has done more than enough to justify the faith the board had in him.
Last season’s rise to second place (their best finish in seven years) was proof of the progress the club has made under Arteta. Closing the gap to Manchester City is a tough goal, but one he looks determined to strive for.
To do that, he will need to start showing up an old mentor.
Odegaard rising up as Arsenal’s leader
When Arsenal’s attack clicked last season, it looked like an ensemble effort where it was difficult to pick out their biggest weapon.
Bukayo Saka put in the most game-changing performances, but had some disappointing contributions at key parts of the season. Gabriel Jesus brought a lot of quality since his move from Manchester City, but struggled with injury. Gabriel Martinelli has incredible skill, but hasn’t quite settled into a set role in the team.
The most consistent Arsenal attacker last season was Martin Odegaard. In the early stages of this season, it’s becoming clear that the most meaningful contributions are coming from their young captain.
Odegaard was a name on so many people’s lips when he was seen as a prodigy at Real Madrid. It might not have worked out for him at the Bernabeu, but he is rising quickly as a leading star at the Emirates.
Can the Gunners stop Haaland from firing?
The more you look at Erling Haaland’s scoring record, the more freakish he looks.
He broke the record for most Premier League goals in a season at his first attempt. He averages a hat-trick every seven Premier League games. He is coming close to smashing Andy Cole’s record for the quickest to 50 goals in the competition. You name the record, Haaland has either beaten it or has it in his sights.
As for his record against Arsenal, he scored in both of their meetings last season with two assists added in for good measure.
While he’s by no means the only player for Arsenal to worry about, he is without doubt the biggest. On every level.
About Showmax Pro
Showmax Pro is a streaming service available for Showmax subscribers in Africa that bundles the Showmax entertainment offering with music channels, news and live sports streaming from SuperSport.
Subscribers can live stream the latest seasons of the English Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, UEFA Europa and UEFA Conference leagues, as well as FIFA World Cup qualifiers, every game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and more. Subscribers in selected regions can stream the UEFA Champions League.
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