Roberto Mancini has made no secret of his disgust at having to play two games in 48 hours – but it should make no difference to his side’s chances of progressing to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.
Manchester City gained a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday evening – despite having Mario Balotelli sent-off – and must now face Arsenal at the Emirates tonight.
Despite the Gunners having an extra day to recover from their 1-1 draw with Fulham, City still head into the game as favourites at 13/10.
Both Mancini and Arsene Wenger look set to name teams containing plenty of fringe players, but City’s extra strength in depth should see them through.
Wenger has already stated the likes of Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby will be rested for this game. City also look certain to rest several stars, while Baoltelli and Gareth Barry are both suspended for the game.
However, that’s where the similarities end.
While Arsenal will have to call on the inexperienced Park Ju-young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as their back-up, City can play Edin Dzeko, Kolo Toure and World Cup finalist Nigel De Jong – none of whom started on Sunday against Liverpool.
Owen Hargreaves may be in line to make a return from a calf injury and the wealth of quality and experience at Mancini’s disposal should be enough to see the Citizens through.
However, Arsenal are 21/10 to get the win in 90 minutes and have a brilliant home record against City.
The Gunners haven’t lost in North London against City since 1975 – that’s 28 games in all competitions without tasting defeat.
City are the rightful favourites, but the Gunners shouldn’t be completely dismissed.