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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

All-out attack to end in Manchester City success at Arsenal

Neutrals should be left buzzing after clash of madcap rivals

Leroy Sane of Manchester City scores against Arsenal
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 4pm Sunday

While billed as a heavyweight clash between two serious top-four contenders, neutrals should just sit back and enjoy what promises to be a madcap encounter.

Good luck keeping the heart-rate in check if you're a supporter of either side and even more so to the pundits on post-match analysis duty. Given the chaotic nature of both teams you'd have more luck analysing the tactical formation of a sack of well-shaken bees.

Manchester City boast a behemoth in the dugout but the defence at times looks guided by a drunken mix of chaos theory and blind hope. One man holds a defensive line, another charges towards a ball he'll never reach and the rest check out the latest news on the advertising hoardings. 

Pair that with a lethal attack that is mesmeric and entertaining for all the right reasons, and this is a City side well worth the entry fee. You will get thrills and excitement, it's just hard for Pep Guardiola to guarantee they will all come at the right end.

They visit an Arsenal team who rarely check the safety before a gun-barrel scratch of those twinkle toes. And after the fun and frolics of the 'Arsene in/out shake-it-all-about' aerial display over West Bromwich a fortnight ago, the Gunners return to a ground that is proving less fortress, more bouncy castle by the week. Arsenal have seen off Hull and non-league Lincoln in recent home games, but their past four Emirates outings have also seen them suffer a crushing defeat to Bayern Munich and grant Watford their only away victory in 11 attempts.

At times it's easy to forget there's a football team somewhere amid the maelstrom of unsigned-contract drama in north London, with absent-minded players focusing on the small print as set-piece after set-piece sails into the home net.

The silver lining is provided by a force of nature leading the line, with Alexis Sanchez supplying a ferocity and determination that often seems at complete odds with what is going on behind him. Thanks in large part to the Chilean's endeavour the Gunners have at least scored in each of their last 21 outings, even if on six of the last nine occasions those goals have been scant consolation in defeat.

It would be utterly wrong to suggest there is any lack of ability elsewhere in the Arsenal ranks as there is more than enough quality to blow any visitors away if only they could pull together. But as the man at the helm is finding in no short measure, uniting this most divided of camps is easier said than done.

Recommended bet
Manchester City and both teams to score
1pt 16-5 Betway

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Dan Sait is Football Editor of the Racing & Football Outlook, out every Tuesday


Manchester City boast a behemoth in the dugout but the defence at times looks guided by a drunken mix of chaos theory and blind hope.
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