Saturday afternoon will see us take a brief break from Premier League action, as we focus on England’s most prestigious soccer tournament, the FA Cup.
Yesterday was a solid afternoon in EPL betting as West Ham cashed easily for us against Watford. This weekend, there are few fixtures, and instead the bigger focus will be ont eh coveted FA CUp and their semi-finals. Tomorrow we’ll see Manchester United battle Chelsea, but today’s feature matchup will be Manchester City taking on Arsenal.
Ever since Man City knew they were going to miss out on the Premier League title, manager Pep Guardiola and his club have put a big emphasis on the other tournaments. They’re still battling for the EFL League Cup, as well as the Champions League and FA Cup. As a result, look for City to put a real emphasis on this matchup and dress their strongest lineup. They rested some key pieces mid-week, so you better believe the Citizens will be prepared.
For Arsenal, an improved run of form has many around the squad optimistic heading into this match-up. They too gave some key pieces a rest in their shocking mid-week victory against Liverpool, providing the group with some added confidence as they prepare to take on another dominant opponent in City. Mikael Arteta has done a lot of tinkering with his group in recent weeks, and believes he’s found a balance that can compete with the top clubs in the world. Will we see another example of that on Saturday afternoon?
As always, keep reading on beneath the odds for further team news, tactical analysis, and a betting prediction for this FA Cup semi-final between Man City and Arsenal. With the talent on display, and a do-or-die format, the match should provide for some excitement. Enjoy!
Manchester City vs. Arsenal Betting Odds:
Man City (-312)
Man City -1.5 (-111)
Arsenal +1.5 (-109)
Man City to advance (-800)
Arsenal to advance (+500)
Over 3.5 (+115)
Under 3.5 (-135)
*Match odds for 90 minutes only, as extra-time is possible
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Manchester City vs. Arsenal Pick:
Admittedly for the Gunners this is likely a tough time to battle a motivated, rested, and hungry Manchester City side. Though Arsenal have been better in recent weeks, and more defensively sound – they still have a ton of question marks.
It also doesn’t make things any easier when you consider the fact that they are really depleted on the injury front at the moment. They’ll be taking on Man City without as many as six regular first-team players, but still many of their elite offensive players can be expected to be in the lineup.
Look for Arteta to go with a 3-4-3 formation. The strategy of using three at the back has been beneficial for the Gunners of late, though the speed and wide-play from Man City may quickly force them to re-think that strategy. Where Arsenal does have a shot for Saturday, is within the play of their three strikers going forward. With a trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette, and the shifty Nicolas Pepe – you always have a chance. Those three are elite finishers, all of whom are in fine form at the moment, carrying the Gunners’ resurgence. Expect them to make things interesting on Saturday.
On the other side, Pep Guardiola has pretty much a full squad, with the exception of Sergio Aguero. But Man City are loaded with skill and depth, and squad rotation in the middle of the week is going to allow the Citizens to be fully healthy and well-rested for this semi-final.
Look for Man City to really try and push the pace and control the majority of possession. With four at the back, look for both wing-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy to push forward with offensive runs, delivering telling balls into the Arsenal box. Up front, City boast the strong Gabriel Jesus in the middle, flanked by speedy and shifty wingers in Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez. It is hard to imagine the Arsenal defense coping with those front three.
Without a very successful season, this might be Arsenal’s only chance to salvage a lost campaign. That said, City enter Saturday feeling the same way and are the much better side. Their offense is in elite form, and with a healthy group they should be able to simply bully the Arsenal back-line. While the Gunners have some key offensive pieces of their own, and should also be able to find the back of the net, it won’t be enough against a potent Man City attack.
Look for a high-scoring contest, where an early goal will draw out an offensive performance from both sides. Defenses are shaky, while both offenses are in great form. There will be some tense moments, but expect City to pull away in the second half, progressing to this year’s FA Cup Final.
Pick: Manchester City 3-1