Can Arsenal solve their Man City mentality issue and remain Premier League title favourites?

By Sports Desk February 15, 2023

Manchester City make the trip to Arsenal on Wednesday with the opportunity to move top of the Premier League table at the expense of their opponents for the first time in over three months.

Not since November 6, when Arsenal beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with another statement victory, has a side other than the Gunners led the way at the summit.

But after only two wins in their past five matches for Arsenal, and three wins in four for City, a gap that stood at eight points less than a month ago has been cut to just three ahead of their showdown at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal still have a game in hand, while the sides also still have to face off again at the Etihad Stadium in April, but the signs are pretty ominous as City chase down a fifth league title in six seasons.

A positive result for Arsenal in midweek in front of their supporters would change that perspective, but meetings between these sides over the past five seasons have only gone one way.

Ahead of their top-of-the-table tussle in north London, Stats Perform looks at Arsenal's terrible record in this fixture in more detail and whether another defeat would pave the way for yet another City title.



Not since Arsenal's most recent title tilt, back in 2015-16 when Leicester City pulled off the shock of all shocks, have they defeated Manchester City in the Premier League.

The fact Theo Walcott was on target for Arsenal in that December 2015 win, along with the evergreen Olivier Giroud, with Mesut Ozil the man pulling the strings in midfield, goes a long way to highlighting just how long ago that rare triumph was.

Since then, Arsenal have failed to beat City in 13 attempts in the top flight, losing the past 10 of those. Needless to say, that stretch of defeats is their worst run against any opponent in the competition's history.

Indeed, should they lose again on Wednesday, only four teams in Premier League history will have lost more times on the bounce against a single opponent.

That is not to say Arsenal haven't had any joy in this fixture in recent years, having defeated City en route to winning the FA Cup in the 2016-17 and 2019-20 campaigns.

Normal service was resumed, though, when the Citizens saw off a much-changed Arsenal 1-0 in last month's fourth-round tie.


City's remarkable run in this fixture includes six straight wins at Emirates Stadium in all competitions – as many victories as in their previous 61 visits to Arsenal and one short of setting an outright record for most wins in a row away to the Gunners by any club.

But exactly why is it that Arsenal have fared so badly against City, despite having Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and now Arteta in the dugout across their 10-game losing run?

The Gunners were on the end of a 5-0 thrashing in their last league visit to the Etihad Stadium in August 2021, though they put up far more of a fight in losing 'only' 2-1 when the sides met in London on New Year's Day last year.

That game is best remembered for Rodri scoring a winner in the third minute of stoppage time for City, a dramatic end to an incident-packed encounter after Arsenal had Gabriel Magalhaes dismissed for an avoidable red card.

Even then it was clear Arteta's patient work was paying off at Arsenal; though despite performing well, a fifth successive loss against his former club had a sense of inevitability about it for the Spaniard.

Gabriel's sending-off changed the complexion of that contest, while Granit Xhaka's dismissal opened the floodgates for City in their five-goal hammering in last season's other encounter.


Keeping 11 players on the field will be a good start for Arsenal if they are to finally take a point or more off City, but will Arteta be tempted to – as we have seen countless times from his mentor Guardiola – change things up?

That might make sense after going two games without a Premier League win for the first time this season, especially considering Arteta has named an unchanged team for six straight games.

Never before have Arsenal stuck with the same line-up for seven games in the competition, and with January recruits Leandro Trossard and Jorginho among those pushing for starts, maybe that record will stay intact for a bit longer.

Perhaps this goes beyond personnel and formation, though. For if Arsenal are to end their City jinx, they need to overcome a mental barrier that's seen Guardiola have his own way for the past five years in league meetings.

Given the fine margins, it's difficult to bill the two meetings between the sides over the next 10 weeks as anything other than title deciders.

Unbeaten in 13 home league matches – their best run since the 2018-19 season – and up against a City side on a two-game losing streak on their travels, it really does feel like now or never for Arsenal.

"The conditions next season won't be as favourable for Arsenal," legendary former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said in the days leading up to the biggest Premier League game of the season. "So let's not waste this opportunity."

Overcome their City hoodoo on Wednesday and Arsenal truly will be favourites to land a first title since 2003-04 under Wenger; suffer another defeat and City's ascent towards another title under Guardiola will be in full swing.

Related items

  • Rico Lewis is one of best players I have ever coached – Pep Guardiola Rico Lewis is one of best players I have ever coached – Pep Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola hailed Rico Lewis as one of the best players he has ever coached after his starring role in Manchester City’s hard-fought win at RB Leipzig.

    The 18-year-old produced a commanding display as the holders maintained the winning start to their Champions League defence with a 3-1 success at the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday.

    Lewis, who made his first-team breakthrough as a right-back last season, had a hand in Phil Foden’s opening goal and proved City’s main driving force throughout.

    City manager Guardiola, the former Barcelona boss whose past players have included Lionel Messi, said: “What a player! What a player!

    “I’ve been a manager for 14, 15, years and lucky to train one of the best players in the world in Barcelona.

    “To find a player like him playing in the pockets, how he has to move as a holding midfielder, moving in the spaces, he is one of the best I’ve ever trained by far.

    “He’s a humble guy, doesn’t talk much. He didn’t play much this season but he is going to play a lot.”

    Despite Lewis’ contributions, it took the introduction of substitutes Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku to secure a hard-fought victory.

    City controlled the first half and led at the break through Foden’s 25th-minute strike but they were pegged back after the restart by Lois Openda.

    The second half was a frustrating affair with Erling Haaland missing several chances and Foden hitting the bar but Alvarez made the breakthrough with a stunning effort on 84 minutes.

    Doku wrapped up a second successive win in Group G in injury time.

    After back-to-back defeats domestically, Guardiola was pleased to get back to winning ways.

    He said: “Three or four days ago it was no progress because we lost in Wolves. It was important to break that.

    “We played a fantastic game in all departments. We conceded two or three transitions in the second half but it’s normal. When a team is able to make a lot of passes early on, very nice things are going to happen in the game.

    “The guys who came from the bench, the contribution they have done is the key point. Everyone helped each other. I am really satisfied. It was a tough game.”

    Leipzig coach Marco Rose was pleased with the effort of his side but had no complaints about the result.

    Rose said: “Manchester City deserved to win, even if it was 1-1 in the 83rd minute and we had hoped to hold on until the end.

    “We did well after the break and got our equaliser. It was then an open game then but City put us under pressure at the death again. We are learning from the best.”

  • Julian Alvarez strike helps Manchester City overcome stubborn RB Leipzig Julian Alvarez strike helps Manchester City overcome stubborn RB Leipzig

    Manchester City struck twice late on to continue the winning start to their Champions League defence with a hard-fought 3-1 success at RB Leipzig.

    Julian Alvarez finally settled City’s nerves in Wednesday’s Group G encounter with a fine strike six minutes from at the Red Bull Arena before fellow substitute Jeremy Doku wrapped up the win.

    Phil Foden had opened the scoring midway through a first half the holders dominated but the hosts responded against the run of play through Lois Openda.

    Foden hit the woodwork as City pushed for a winner but, with Erling Haaland faltering in front of goal, it looked like being a frustrating night until Alvarez struck.

    That City would need such late heroics from the bench seemed unlikely as they controlled the first half.

    The presence of Rodri, who is currently serving a domestic ban, brought a noticeable calm that was missing in his absence in Saturday’s defeat at Wolves.

    Yet it was Rico Lewis, playing alongside him in midfield, who caught the eye with his determination to win possession and some driving runs.

    Lewis had City’s first serious opportunity after a nice turn in the area but his shot was blocked. Foden drove the ball back across goal from the rebound but Bernardo Silva, returning to the side after injury, failed to turn it in at the far post.

    City’s opener came after 25 minutes from another attack instigated by Lewis. The lively youngster pushed forward and played a one-two with Silva before pulling back for Foden in the area.

    The England international met it with a first-time shot that bounced beyond Janis Blaswich.

    City pushed for a second before the break, with Haaland twice breaking free on the left but the Norwegian first shot wide and was then denied by Blaswich.

    It was not until the final minute of the first half that Leipzig had an effort on goal when Openda’s long-range shot was deflected over and City reached the break looking completely untroubled.

    All their good work was undone within moments of the restart as Jack Grealish misplaced a pass and they were caught by a Leipzig counter-attack.

    Yussuf Poulsen released Openda with a pass from the centre circle and the Belgium international raced through to beat Ederson with a low shot that went in off the base of the post.

    Haaland threatened to restore City’s lead when he fired wide and then spurned an even better chance when he missed the target from a Foden cross.

    Foden went closer when he curled a free-kick against the bar from a wide angle but Haaland’s frustration continued as he shot at Blaswich and skewed another effort over.

    City were caught on the break again but were reprieved when Emil Forsberg failed to find a colleague in the box and Ederson needed to punch clear after substitute Timo Werner broke free.

    Pep Guardiola’s changes made the difference as Doku teed up Alvarez to clip a fine shot over Blaswich from the edge of the area.

    Doku then put the seal on victory when he finished off a quick break in injury time as Leipzig paid the price for pushing players forward.

  • UK and Ireland bid for Euro 2028 to be unopposed after Turkey withdraw interest UK and Ireland bid for Euro 2028 to be unopposed after Turkey withdraw interest

    The UK and Ireland will host Euro 2028, subject to final approval from UEFA’s executive committee next week, after Turkey withdrew its interest.

    The five-nation bid is now the only option on the table for the finals in five years’ time after Turkey pulled out of contention for the 2028 finals to focus on a joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032.

    UEFA will formally announce the hosts for the two tournaments following a meeting of its executive committee in Switzerland next week.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.