Jovetic To Gun Down Arsenal At Wembley
Arsenal v Man City
The English season’s traditional curtain raiser takes place at Wembley on Sunday as FA Cup winners Arsenal face Premier League champions Manchester City with both hopeful of laying down a marker for the season ahead.
The mentality which saw City score over 100 goals last term has been evident once more throughout pre-season as they’ve scored 15 in six outings while conceding eight – and at least once in each of their games.
They were beaten to a final spot in the International Champions Cup in the United States by Liverpool as they won just once in three games – a 5-1 mauling of a terrible AC Milan side.
Successive 2-2 draws against Liverpool and Olympiakos followed but then resulted in penalty shootout losses to both. That will be of little concern to boss Manuel Pellegrini who was missing a raft of their regular starters who have yet to feature over the summer.
The somewhat forgotten Stevan Jovetic has been a big plus side for his side in pre-season though as the forward has scored five times in his last three games for the title holders.
The Gunners have had a far less taxing schedule over the summer months, playing only four times as they earned a pair of wins and losses.
Arsene Wenger’s side began with a 2-0 win over Boreham Wood but suffered 1-0 defeats to both New York Red Bulls and Monaco either side of a 5-1 drubbing of Benfica with young French striker Yaya Sanogo grabbing four as he aims to compete for a central striking berth for the upcoming season.
Pellegrini has confirmed a long list of absentees for this game with Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Bacary Sagna and new arrival Frank Lampard all out having only begun training last Monday.
Alvaro Negredo is also out with a broken foot which will keep the Spanish striker sidelined for another three months.
Arsenal will be without their trio of World Cup winners with Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski also set to miss the start of the season.
Theo Walcott is yet to return to training with the winger expected to be out until September while Thomas Vermaelen is expected to complete a transfer to Barcelona over the weekend and unlikely to feature.
Alexis Sanchez moved in the other direction over the summer and should make his debut with other new recruits Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers expected to play from the start.
Head to Head
The sides last met at the Emirates in late March when David Silva gave City a 18th minute lead that was cancelled out by Mathieu Flamini in the second half as both had to settle for a share of the spoils.
City hit six past a hapless Gunners rear-guard in their first encounter last season with Silva, Aguero, Fernandinho (twice), Negredo and Yaya Toure all getting in on the act as Walcott’s double and a late Mertesacker header couldn’t disguise the gulf between the two teams.
The Citizens have earned wins in four of their last seven meetings with Arsenal, who’ve won just once in that period.
Although City’s boss may protest to the contrary, this is a friendly in all but name, although neither manager will want to suffer a defeat, particularly not a heavy one.
Arsenal look to offer good value at a hefty 11/5 against a side missing a litany of talent and on the skinny side at 23/20. I’d steer clear of the match betting with such unfamiliar line-ups and think the goalscorers market looks of most interest.
Aaron Ramsey can continue his heroics form last season at 21/10 to score anytime but Jovetic is in fine fettle at present and the 31/20 on another strike here should be snapped up.