The secret to how Arsenal can beat Man City in decisive Premier League title showdown

The two clubs face each other in a top of the table six-pointer on Sunday afternoon.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Talk of disciples can be a touchy subject around Easter, what with the whole Judas thing and that. This time a couple of millennia ago, give or take, the duplicitous Iscariot had already dobbed Jesus in to the Romans for a fistful of silver (probably still didn't leave a tip at the Last Supper) and set in motion the series of events that ensured you and I are now in the midst of a long weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, just around the time that the son of God was pulling a Mr. Brightside and coming out of his cave, Pep Guardiola, a kind of Tiki-Taka messiah in his own right, will, rather fittingly, pit himself against a former follower who now wants nothing more than to bring about his downfall. This year's Premier League title race has more than a touch of the biblical about it, and as Mikel Arteta prepares to take his Arsenal side to the Etihad, with Liverpool watching on rabid and passive in the wings, it feels as if a day of reckoning is upon us.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At the time of writing, the top three are separated by a single point. Manchester City trail their two prospective usurpers, with the Gunners edging out the Reds at the summit on goal difference alone. With just ten games to go, a loss for either Guardiola or Arteta this weekend could prove to be catastrophic.

And yet, it is difficult to envisage Pep or his one-time acolyte descending into caginess or idle sparring; it is quite simply not in the nature or philosophy of either man. That being said, Guardiola's commitment to the bit could also be to Arsenal's advantage.

We saw glimpses of an unusually chaotic City during their recent 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. In that clash - a breathless, botched bank heist of an affair - there were several stages at which the treble winners appeared punch drunk and distended; stringy and unsteady, like chewing gum pulled too thin. It is rare to see City dictated to in such a manner, and yet, for periods of their Merseyside sojourn, they looked decidedly human.

Arsenal can take heart from that uncharacteristic skittishness, especially considering their recent knack for punishing porous defences. Since the turn of the year, they have scored four goals or more in exactly half of their eight Premier League matches, as well as putting three past Liverpool during that purple patch. In 2024, they have taken 24 points from a possible 24, and boast the imperious swagger of champions elect.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Of course, City themselves are hardy traipsing through the doldrums, and haven't lost a game of football in any competition since December 6th. But if their tangle with Jurgen Klopp's men hinted at anything, it's that Arsenal can disrupt Guardiola's side, provided they get the pin out of their proverbial hand grenade quickly enough.

Arteta must, therefore, be brave in his approach, and trust in the attacking onslaught that has carried his squad to the top of the table as we round the corner into the final straight of this frenzied campaign. If he does, and if the Gunners get it right, then it may well be Arsenal who rise up this Easter Sunday.