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Premier League | Gameweek 30
Mar 31, 2024 at 4.30pm UK
Etihad Stadium
AL

Man City
0 - 0
Arsenal

 
FT

Jesus (67'), Raya (79')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Manchester City vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

An Easter Sunday Etihad extravaganza headlines the return of Premier League football following the international break, as holders Manchester City welcome leaders Arsenal to their headquarters for a battle of epic proportions.

Mikel Arteta returns to his former stomping ground with his side boasting a one-point lead over the treble winners, which will increase to four if they can banish their nine-year Etihad curse.


Match preview

A changing of the guard may occur before Sunday's blockbuster showdown commences at the Etihad, as Liverpool need only glean a point from their 2pm kickoff with Brighton & Hove Albion to rise to the summit of the rankings, thereby making the closing act an encounter between the silver and bronze medallists.

For the men in sky blue, finishing on the lowest spot on the podium would be an unwanted collector's item under Pep Guardiola - whose former student Arteta has quickly become a master of sorts - although that is nothing to do with their near-unblemished form in 2024.

As much as Guardiola may downplay it, the dream of back-to-back trebles remains a realistic one for the reigning English and European champions, who rained on Newcastle United's parade with a 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final success before the two-week domestic pause; Chelsea now lie in wait at Wembley next month, following a tantalising Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid.

The two-goal beating of the Magpies stretched Man City's exceptional unbeaten run across all tournaments to 22 matches since December's humbling at the hands of Aston Villa - including each of their last 13 in the Premier League - and their streak without defeat on Etihad turf stands at an astonishing 38 games.

Not since Brentford's surprise 2-1 win in November 2022 have Man City been on the losing side in front of the sky blue wall, where they have won each of their last four matches across all tournaments, but arguably the toughest examination of their title credentials now awaits.

Quickly exorcising the demons of a woeful winter period, in which Arteta masterminded just one win from seven matches amid the festivities, Arsenal's perfect Premier League record in 2024 now reads an extraordinary eight wins from eight matches, a feat never achieved before in the club's rich history.

As Brentford raged over Kai Havertz still being on the field, the in-form German rejoiced in his 86th-minute winner to send Arsenal to first place in the table, a position they would hold over the international break thanks to Man City and Liverpool's failure to best one another.

The Emirates exploded into pandemonium just three days later too, as David Raya made himself the 12-yard hero against Porto in their Champions League last-16 battle, and a shot at revenge against frequent conquerors Bayern Munich is their reward for ending a barren of seven successive last-16 eliminations.

Before thoughts of Bavarian vengeance take priority, Arsenal could match the nine-game Premier League winning run only previously managed by their title-winning crops of 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2003-04, and across their last-three top-flight away matches, Arteta's outfit have notched a spectacular 17 goals while shipping a grand total of zero.

Furthermore, after repeated failures to get one over Guardiola, Arsenal have won their last two games versus Man City, in the Community Shield and October's slender Emirates success. However, not since January 2015 have the Gunners emerged victorious at the Etihad, and the time is nigh to emulate Arsene Wenger's charges if Arsenal's name is to be etched on the Premier League trophy again.

Manchester City Premier League form:


Manchester City form (all competitions):


Arsenal Premier League form:


Arsenal form (all competitions):


Team News

Both Guardiola and Arteta have been counting the cost of the international break - amid eyebrow raises from sceptical supporters upon every withdrawal - and the former confirmed a devastating double blow in his pre-game press conference on Friday.

England duo Kyle Walker and John Stones have been ruled out of the game by the Citizens manager, although Manuel Akanji - who withdrew from Switzerland duty - is doing fine, while first-choice goalkeeper Ederson is also "much better" and could return in between the posts.

There was no update on the knock that Matheus Nunes picked up on Portugal duty, but Kevin De Bruyne - a frequent tormentor of Arsenal's with eight goals and five assists from 20 games against them - has trained "really well" and is expected to be given the thumbs-up. Jack Grealish is fit again too, but a spot on the bench beckons for the Englishman.

As City players dropped like flies over the international break, so did a handful of Arsenal's key troops, as Brazil defender Gabriel Magalhaes and England winger Bukayo Saka both withdrew from their countries' camps before playing a game.

Gabriel Martinelli - scorer of Arsenal's solitary goal in October's win over Man City - was already a known absentee with his foot wound, although Arteta is hopeful that all three will be able to shake off their niggles in time to reprise their regular starting roles; he confirmed on Friday that there was a "chance" for all three of them.

Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey are also expected to be available after facing Queens Park Rangers in a behind-closed-doors friendly during the international break, potentially leaving ACL victim Jurrien Timber as their only absentee, but the Dutchman is on course to play again before the season draws to a close.


Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Lewis, Dias, Akanji, Ake; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Haaland, Doku

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli


We say: Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal

Sunday's appetizing affair pits the unstoppable force of Arsenal - boasting a 100% Premier League record in 2024 - against the immovable object of Man City, without defeat on their own patch in an astounding 16 months.

The apparent absences of Walker and Stones - if Guardiola's words are to be believed - should see Martinelli step foot onto the Etihad turf with a glint in his eyes if he is indeed passed fit, and the customary Etihad defeat should not be on the menu for Arsenal this weekend.

However, with City as irrepressible as ever in front of the home crowd, a share of the spoils seems the likeliest outcome from Sunday's main event - one point which should be more warmly-received by the away end than the Citizens faithful.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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