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Sunday, 08 April 2012

Arsenal v Manchester City: Will Wenger end City's title hopes?


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Arsenal v Man City

Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri all swapped the bright lights of London for the millions on offer at the Etihad in order to win the Premier League title, but wouldn't it be sweet if it was Arsene Wenger's men who put another nail in City's faltering title dream?

Manchester City have been by far and away the best team in the Premier League this season. At one stage they were scoring for fun, not conceding goals and looked on course to replicate the Invincibles of Arsenal. Then the African Cup of Nations happened and City looked vulnerable without their midfield maestro Yaya Toure and David Silva has also been largely invisible in recent months.

In the past four league games, City have dropped seven points and let United open up a five point gap over them - which could be eight by the time kick off arrives. Mancini has done himself no favours. At Everton he blamed himself for the defeat by not taking the threat of the Toffees seriously and his recent public bashing or Mario Balotelli has been baffling. You would never see Wenger or Fergie attacking their own players in the media. Never.

Arsenal meanwhile have the opportunity to cement their place in third and keep ahead of Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle in the race for a Champions League spot. The Gunners have come a long way from their awful start to the campaign but the future is looking rosier for them - as long as they can hold on to Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman is reportedly on City's hitlist but will he become the next Gunner to head to the Etihad in search of silverware or will he remain loyal to Arsenal?

Manchester City have beaten Arsenal twice this season already - in the league at the Etihad and at the Emirates in the League Cup, both 1-0 - but Mancini's men haven't won at Arsenal in the league since 1975. Their last two visits have ended in goalless draws. That could happen again as Hart and Szczesny are both top class goalkeepers, but a draw would be no good for the visitors. They need to win, which could allow Arsenal to break free and counter attack, which is what they do best.

But who will come out on top? Our pundits are edging towards a home win.

Arsenal v Manchester City; Kick Off 4pm April 8 2012

Prediction Panel

Arsenal

Don McMahon

1

V

0

Aston Villa

Frank Pattison

2

V

1

Blackburn

Terry Kennedy

1

V

1

Bolton

Dave Blackburn

2

V

1

Chelsea

Joe Tyler

2

V

1

Everton

Chris Goodwin

3

V

2

Fulham

Neil Springate

2

V

1

Liverpool

Mark Williams

1

V

1

Man City

Callum Rothwell

0

V

1

Man Utd

Peter Lee

2

V

1

Newcastle

Michael Stout

1

V

1

Norwich City

Sue Read

2

V

2

QPR

Arjun Swaminathan    

1

V

1

Stoke City

Philip Eccleston

2

V

1

Sunderland

Tony Ratton

1

V

1

Tottenham

Mike Richards

1

V

1

Swansea

Jim White

1

V

3

West Brom

Andy Wakeman

1

V

0

Wigan

Alan Moore

2

V

2

Wolves

Chris Cox

1

V

1

 

 

 

 

 

OUR EXPERTS

 

 

 

 

Writer

Colin Illingworth

2

V

1

Writer

Steve Coulter

2

V

1

Writer

Phil Bundy

2

V

2

Writer

Mitch Waddon

2   

V    

1

Writer

Matt Turner

TBA    

V

TBA

Writer

Chris Pettitt

2

V

3

Writer

Hugh Larkin

2

V

1

Aston Villa fan

Lynette Ranson

TBA

V

TBA

Blackpool fan

Phil Trow

1

V

1

Boro fan

Sue Gardener

3

V

2

Fulham fan

Russell Goldman

TBA

V

TBA

Pompey fan

Dan Taylor

TBA

V

TBA

Pompey fan

Peter Rendle

2

V

2

West Ham fan

Matthew Beeby

1

V

3

West Ham fan

Nigel Telfer

2

V

1

Editor

Antony Melvin

1

V

1

Panel Verdict

It looks like this could signal the end of City’s title charge.

Home: 15; Draw: 13; Away: 4. TBA 4

* Do we have it right or do you know better? We’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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