Big Game Focus: Arsenal v Manchester City

The Big Game Focus takes a look at the largest game of the day, giving you possible team line-ups, form and betting advice.

Manchester City begin their title defence at the Emirates on Sunday as they seek to become the first team to retain the Premier League trophy since neighbours Manchester United in 2009.

This is also the start of a new era for hosts Arsenal. The Gunners are playing their first competitive match under Unai Emery after the resignation of legendary manager Arsene Wenger, and this is a baptism of fire for the Spaniard.

After last season’s record breaking exploits, the goal for City this season is to retain their crown, but the next step for Pep Guardiola and co is to replicate their opponents’ 2003/04 unbeaten campaign.

How the London club would love to end the Citizens’ hopes on day one. Arsenal have had little success against the champions recently, but with a new coach and an unfamiliar set of tactics, they might just spring a surprise.

Betting tips

The Citizens only failed to win six of their 38 league games last season and scored three goals in each of their three meetings against the hosts in all competitions (including the League Cup final). Arsenal lost six of their ten matches against the five teams that finished above them in 2017/18. Back an Away Win at odds of 1.95 here.

Over 2.5 Goals were scored in 15 of Arsenal’s 19 home games last season, including each of the final ten. The visitors scored 45 times in 19 away games in 2017/18, just three shy of the Premier League record. The same has occurred in eight of the past ten meetings between the two sides. Click here to bet on Over 2.5 Goals at odds of 1.55.

These sides have both been on the scoresheet in seven of their past ten meetings. City scored and conceded in three of their final five away matches last season, while both teams have scored in six of Arsenal’s past ten home games against other “big six” sides. Both Teams to Score is available here at odds of 1.45.

Sergio Aguero has found the net in four of his last five appearances against Arsenal in all competitions. The Argentinian is already up and running for the season after a brace in the Community Shield and scored 21 times in 25 league matches last year. Odds of 1.90 are available for him to score anytime at the Emirates. Bet here.

Team news

Arsenal have a shortage of options at left back following an injury to Sead Kolasinac. Nacho Monreal may not be fit for the game, meaning that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to deputise. Emery has a dilemma of whether to select veteran Petr Cech or newcomer Bernd Leno in goal, while Aaron Ramsey faces a late fitness test.

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling missed their side’s Community Shield win due to extended holidays following the World Cup. The duo are back in training and should be involved on Sunday.

Possible line-ups

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Kompany, Mendy, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D. Silva, B. Silva, Aguero, Sane


*All odds subject to change