This truly is the barmiest Premier League title race. There’s nothing usual about Leicester leading the way and manager-less champions Chelsea facing a possible relegation battle as Christmas fast approaches. However, even among the mayhem, the final destination of the English crown is likely to be either the Emirates or the Etihad, rather than the King Power Stadium.
With only a point separating the second-place Gunners from the Citizens in third, Monday night’s televised encounter between the joint Premier League favourites will have Sky Sports’ montage compilers working 24-hour shifts no doubt.
The big question is who, if either side, will win the monumental match? A simple answer to the query it that all educated guesses point towards Arsene Wenger’s would-be champs over Manuel Pellegrini’s.
Such a theory is not based purely on the simplicity of home advantage either, although that is an obvious boon to Arsenal chances, rated at 13/10, ahead of visiting City at 19/10.
Not only have Arsenal have got the measure of their big-spending rivals over recent clashes – they used a 3-0 Community Shield triumph as a springboard to collecting four league points last season – they’ve got the far more reliable rearguard.
Petr Cech’s summer capture was touted as a possible scale-tipping moment where Arsenal’s title chances were concerned and so far, this is proviso is turning out to be true enough.
The world-class stopper has helped the north Londoners become statistically the second-most watertight defensive unit in the division, with both his reflexes and commanding presence equally as important.
Going forward, Wenger’s team are as slick as they’ve arguably ever been and although Pellegrini’s men match this attacking menace, if not edge it, their vulnerability at the back is likely to prove their downfall both at the Emirates and in terms of the title.
If either defence is going to cope better with the other’s fearsome forward line, then it’s Laurent Koscielny and co, the centre-half recently plucked out as the finest in the Premier League by Rio Ferdinand, who knows a thing or two about the position.
Both teams have won four of the last five in all competitions, so form is not a deciding factor necessarily, though it is very notable that the one blot on City’s copybook came in their only away match in the sequence – a resounding 2-0 defeat at Stoke in the league.
There are question marks surrounding some possible comebacks for injured parties in either squad, but as the game looms, it is Arsenal who look most capable of taking the spoils.
It goes without saying that those in agreement should take home side’s title price before it shrinks to odds-on in the aftermath of victory and a four-point gap.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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