Arsenal to affirm their title ambitions with a Man City win

In 2013/14, Arsenal’s pursuit of the Premier League title was undermined by an inability to beat their closest competitors for the trophy.

Despite sitting top of the table for much of the campaign it was the five losses and three draws in the 12 games against the eventual top seven that cost them a much-coveted top-flight crown that year.

Last season, the Gunners weren’t ever considered to be in the championship picture – they never sat top of the table after the first week of the season – but were once again atrocious against the league’s elite. Just like in the season prior, Arsene Wenger managed just three wins in 12 against the top seven.

So far this term, the north London outfit are keeping pace with the league leaders but, in a break from the norm, have fared much better against the sides around them.

They already have four wins from their games against the current top seven, although admittedly in this topsy-turvy rollercoaster of a campaign two of those clubs are Leicester City and Watford.

Nonetheless, there hasn’t ever been a better chance for the Emirates to celebrate ruling England’s highest division and their Monday night clash with Manchester City provides them the chance to really assert themselves on the title chase.

A 6-3 away defeat to the Citizens two seasons ago was one of a number of chastening heavy losses to a fellow challenger. However, since that mauling, Arsenal have gone four games without defeat to the Sky Blues.

As they welcome Manuel Pellegrini’s side to north London, Ladbrokes make them the 7/5 favourites to claim victory, with the draw available at 12/5 and the visitors priced up at 21/10.

Should they win, Arsenal would move four points clear of City and to within one win of league-leaders Leicester. A push for the title would await them in the second half of the season.

They have a real chance of beating Pellegrini’s men too, considering the Chilean has watched his side fail to win in each of their last three away games.

In losing to Stoke last time out and drawing with both Aston Villa and Manchester United in the road trips that preceded it, City have shown that they are vulnerable against any standard of opposition away from the Etihad Stadium.

With Arsenal unbeaten in their own building since the opening week of the season too, this looks cherry-ripe for a home win.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.