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Premier League: The Apprentice Visits His Old Mentor

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta will be involved in a teacher-versus-student matchup as Manchester City host Arsenal this Thursday at the Premier League.

These two managers have worked together for three seasons which included back-to-back Premier League titles in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns.

There are some similarities between the two managers – from their Barcelona upbringing to their preferred playing style of football, and even their fashion sense – which adds on to the excitement ahead of this fixture.

Manchester City are still holding the solo second spot with 57 points while Arsenal are at 9th with 40 points. The latter is expected to make a huge push as they try to secure a Europa League spot.

After everything that the Gunners have been through this season, ending their dry spell at the Etihad Stadium would be a huge boost for them mentally and emotionally.

The same could be said for the Sky Blues especially since the Reds are just waiting for formality to be declared as the champions towards the end of the season, ending their repeat bid in the process.

SBOTOP gives you a preview for this match on Thursday.

 

Talking Points

Man City might get some key pieces back

The Sky Blues have lost in their last outing during the Manchester Derby, making them very eager to bounce back this Thursday.

Manchester City were having problems, particularly on the midfield as Bruno Fernandes continued to attack and create opportunities for Manchester United which eventually led to goals by Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay.

 

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were particularly underwhelming in the said match while Guardiola missed the services of their star playmaker in Kevin De Bruyne.

Good thing for them, however, is that he and Leroy Sane have made significant progress ahead of this match against Arsenal. According to our most recent Premier League 2020 news, the two were seen to be training with the squad and could vie for a spot in the starting XI.

Kevin De Bruyne missed the last two games due to a shoulder injury in which he suffered during their Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa. His absence was sorely missed by the squad as Pep Guardiola lamented the lack of creativity in the midfield at the time.

Leroy Sane has yet to play once more for the Sky Blues since he injured his knee back in their Community Shield victory over Liverpool last August. He played in an U23 match at Arsenal last week as part of his ongoing rehab.

On the other hand, Raheem Sterling would need to get over his rough patch in order to help the Sky Blues moving forward. The English striker hasn’t been directly involved in a goal for the team in the 2020 calendar year and he will be much needed come Thursday.

 

Arsenal picking up some steam

Under the tutelage of Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have yet to lose in the Premier League in the 2020 calendar year so far.

The former assistant of Pep Guardiola has simply inspired his players to play and compete with more fire, which led to some favourable results so far.

Save for their shocking loss against Olympiacos in the Europa League, Arsenal scored some topnotch wins against Manchester United, Leeds United, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Everton, Portsmouth, and West Ham while they drew level against Chelsea, Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Sheffield United.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazzette have found their form, while Nicolas Pepe and then-disgruntled players in Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have revitalised their careers under Arteta.

With the way they have been playing as of late, vying for a Europa League spot next term seems to be within reach for the squad since they are only trailing by five points behind the fifth-seeded Manchester United.

Pablo Mari delighted to win his first Premier League game at Arsenal
Arsenal’s Pablo Mari controls the ball during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match against Portsmouth

They’ve also added a key piece to their roster which should boost their depth at the back. In their two previous matches, fans over at the Emirates got to see Pablo Mari in his Premier League debut.

The centre-back made his impact right away for Arsenal as he would provide ample support for the likes of David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos at the backline.  He helped the Gunners in keeping clean sheets against Portsmouth and West Ham.

Arsenal have an option to sign him on a long-term deal and there is no doubt that this will be a great deal for both parties should Mari’s superb play continue.

 

History

Manchester City have won their last six games against Arsenal in all competitions.

12 of the last 16 goals City have scored against Arsenal are in the first half, making them the favourites to win once more in this match since they are adept on taking early leads against them.

The Gunners have been undefeated in their last seven away Premier League matches (W1, D6).

 

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