It’s the match no one wants to miss. The game that could decide the title race: Manchester City v Arsenal. Plus we combine the two teams to produce our supreme XI of the season
By Chris Miller, Feature Writer
August is such a simple time when you’re making Premier League predictions. Last summer, everyone knew Liverpool and Manchester City would be the top two. Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals would fire Manchester United to a title challenge, and Antonio Conte’s coaching nous would do the same for Spurs. As for Mikel Arteta, he risked losing his job if his young Arsenal side continued to lag behind rivals like Chelsea.
But results aren’t decided by pre-season prophecies. And as we enter the final straight of the 2022/23 campaign, Man City and Arsenal are the only clubs with a realistic chance of winning the Premier League. The two meet at the Etihad Stadium on 26 April, live on BT Sport, in the very definition of a crunch match. The Gunners are ahead on points, but City have played fewer matches and have a superior goal difference. It’s on a knife-edge.
Ahead of the face-off that could decide the destiny of the Premier League trophy, we’ve put together a combined XI of these two most impressive teams of the English season. It was a tough one, and some superb performers have been left out. But that’s the level these players are at.
When is Man City v Arsenal on TV?
Manchester City v Arsenal
Wednesday 26 April, 7pm, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527) and BT Sport Ultimate (CH 531)
Remember, you can follow all the live action on BT Sport wherever you are in the UK, as long as there’s WiFi, 3G or 4G, thanks to Virgin TV Go. Simply download the free app, which is free to all Virgin TV customers and is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows 10 and PC/Mac. Download the Virgin TV Go app.
This was a close call. It’s unfair to look at the saves stats table, which has Ederson bottom by miles because City’s polished possession game means he faces fewer shots. But surprisingly, he’s also well behind on percentage of shots saved with 57.1%, whereas Aaron Ramsdale’s figure is 71.8%. And eye-catching performances, as in the second half of the recent meeting with Liverpool, help the England man claim this slot.
The tactics of both managers made this choice tricky. Both have instructed full-backs to step into midfield to create an overload. Is, say, Oleksandr Zinchenko truly a defender in this role? Well, either way, there’s no doubt he’s been brilliant. William Saliba, 22 last month, has looked like a 10-year Premier League veteran, while signing the unheralded Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund – just £15 million! – has proved a masterstroke. But Nathan Aké, Gabriel Magalhães, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Benjamin White have all excelled too.
Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva are vital cogs in the City machine, while Granit Xhaka – castigated and vilified by Arsenal fans just three seasons ago – has undergone an almost miraculous revival. But this area picks itself. Rodri dominates the base of midfield like no other player, while it’s been a privilege to watch Martin Ødegaard and all-time Prem great Kevin de Bruyne at the height of their creative powers.
After a tricky first season at City, Jack Grealish has hit his stride in the past few months, in which his goals and assists numbers have been almost as admirable as his calves. On the other flank, Bukayo Saka has been giving left-backs nightmares with his darting runs and quick feet. Gabriel Martinelli, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and January signing Leandro Trossard miss out, but they have been outstanding when called on. Oh and some big Norwegian lad has scored 32 league goals in 28 games.
Don’t have BT Sport?
You can upgrade to our Virgin TV Maxit package online via your My Virgin Media account here and get all 4 BT Sport channels in HD. If you’ve not registered for My Virgin Media or have forgotten your sign in details just head over to myvirginmedia.com.
Not heard about Virgin TV Go?
Don’t let anything get in between you and your essential viewing with Virgin TV Go. With loads of sport and Box Sets to try out, you’ll always be entertained wherever you are!
The app is available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost and is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows 10 and PC/Mac. Get downloading (from the links below) and you’ll be one step closer to watching what you want, when you want.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV required to view HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Premium channels (add-ons): 30 days’ notice required to remove premium channels/packs.
BT Sport is included in Maxit TV, Full House TV and VIP bundles or can be taken as an add-on at additional monthly cost. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.
TV Go: Content available to view depends on TV package. Not all channels/content from relevant pack available. Live streaming and On Demand requires broadband/WiFi or 3G/4G access. UK only. Access via PC, Mac or TV Go App (selected iOS devices and Android™ devices only). Maximum 5 compatible devices per account can watch TV.