Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages – we have finally arrived.
After three long months, the Premier League is set to return to our screens on Wednesday night with the first major feature game being Arsenal’s trip to take on reigning champions Manchester City. It kind of goes without saying that City are going to lose their crown to Liverpool in the next few weeks, barring an absolute miracle, and all Pep Guardiola can really do is push forward and ensure his team gives the best possible account of themselves between now and the end of the season.
Arsenal, on the other hand, still have a job to do as they try and fight their way into the European spots.
While the allure of Liverpool potentially winning the title at Goodison Park would be fantastic, City are going to do everything in their power to put on a show – and remind everyone that they’ll still be hanging around next season, and the season after that, and probably the season after that. They’ve got their troubles off the pitch too as they try and resolve their European ban, so the focus needs to be making sure everyone remembers who they are.
There has been a serious discussion amongst Arsenal fans as of late regarding whether or not it would be a good idea for them to stay away from Europe altogether next season, including the Europa League, to ensure they can focus on what they’re trying to accomplish from a domestic standpoint. While that may be a nice idea in theory, the execution of it would probably see the likes of Lacazette, Aubameyang and potentially more jump ship. They have to dig deep and give the best account of themselves they can in the next handful of games, and that starts with this tricky trip to the Etihad.
As much as we’d like to believe the Gunners are capable of giving Arteta a big win over his mentor, it’s hard to see anything other than a City whitewash. The most realistic outcome is for Arsenal to keep things close and push them all the way to the final whistle, and we’re going to back the idea that it can happen. We’ll say City will win 2-1, with Arsenal turning their attention towards some more winnable fixtures in the next couple of weeks.
Can Arsenal pull off the surprise win?