Paul Merson and Chris Sutton disagree on Man City vs Arsenal prediction

Paul Merson and Chris Sutton disagree on Man City vs Arsenal prediction© Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Paul Merson and Chris Sutton have predicted whether or not Arsenal can defeat Manchester City this weekend. Pep Guardiola will welcome the Gunners to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon as either side hopes to gain an advantage in the Premier League title race.

The Gunners have won each of their last eight games in the English top flight, leapfrogging Liverpool to claim first place – but only a seven-goal difference separates the two clubs. Meanwhile, Manchester City sit third, trailing Mikel Arteta’s side by just one point.

“If Kyle Walker and John Stones don’t play, I don’t see Arsenal not getting a result here,” said the Arsenal legend. “If all the players are fit for City, they will win this, because they just turn up and win big football matches.

“This result will hinge on the fitness of the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Walker and Stones. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Gunners are still well behind City in terms of overall quality, because it is scary how good Pep Guardiola’s side can be when they are on song.

“They’ve won 19 and drawn three since last tasting defeat against Aston Villa in December. That’s what Arsenal are up against. I know plenty of people fancy Arsenal to finally go to the Etihad and get a great result, but a fully fit City are about as tough as they come.

“If you’re a Liverpool fan, you’d want Arsenal to win this one, because City’s fixtures get ridiculously favourable after this match. I think they’ll go on and win another treble if they beat the Gunners this weekend. This is the match of the weekend.

“The goal difference between the two sides is massive right now. If Arsenal win this game, they go four points clear of City and with that goal difference, it could prove to be decisive in the title race. Both teams are evenly matched at the moment, however, and we could see a draw in this match. Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal.”

Sutton, however, believes Manchester City will just edge it at the Etihad Stadium. Speaking to BBC Sport, the former Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers striker said: “I can see this game being as cagey as when these two sides met at the Emirates in October and Arsenal grabbed a late winner.

“I don’t think there will be a lot of goals this time, either. Again, it is going to be decided by what happens in the big moments rather than one side dominating play, but that just makes it harder to call.

“When I think about City’s form I am not exactly convinced by some of their recent performances because they have not been as free flowing as they usually are. They are also yet to beat any other teams in the top five in the league this season… but then you check their results and they have still won 20 of their past 22 games in all competitions.

“Meanwhile, Arsenal are top, having scored the most goals in the top flight this season, and conceded the fewest. They also come into this game on the back of eight straight league wins.

“If City lose this then they will be four points behind the Gunners with nine games to go and, on the face of it, it could be curtains for them. But, at times like this, I judge City on how they have delivered in the past, especially at the Etihad.

“That’s why I am still going to back Pep Guardiola’s side, even though they have not quite been at the level they reached last season. Whatever happens here, though, the title race is not over for anyone.

“All we have learned so far is that we have got three incredible teams, and I don’t see any of them dropping away before the end of the season.”

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