Roberto Mancini has known his side’s title defence has been over for a long time and Robin van Persie’s sublime hat-trick on Monday confirmed it.
Man City’s disastrous seven minutes in London meant United could finish the job and they will be looking to at least give their fans something to cheer in Saturday’s early kick-off.
West Ham are the visitors at the Etihad and they arrive in great form. A run of five games without defeat has all but secured the Hammers’ top flight status for another season. I was really impressed with Sam Allardyce’s side against the champions and they were unfortunate not to get all three points.
The Hammers’ league position means they can head north and really have a go at City. It’s set for an open game, but the visitors will be up against it to even come away with a point. City have been strong at home all season and have won five of their past six here.
Carlos Tevez is on a great scoring run and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the opener against his former employers in a comfortable home win. Andy Carroll is in a rich vein of form and his battle with Vincent Kompany is going to be an interesting one.
Manchester United will receive a guard of honour as they step onto the Emirates pitch on Sunday afternoon. The fact that Robin van Persie will be walking out in the red of Manchester United will hurt Gunners’ fans that much more. You cannot begrudge the Dutchman’s move as in only his first season in Manchester he has landed his first career title.
Arsenal will once again finish without a trophy, but they still have plenty to play for as they look to secure a Champions League spot. Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have enjoyed a long rivalry and you can bet each will be wanting this just as much as the other.
Five wins from half-a-dozen home games shows that the Gunners are playing well enough and they can come back from the guard of honour by holding the champions to a point.
Monday night’s action sees Paulo Di Canio’s Sunderland head to Villa Park for a huge game in the relegation stakes. Di Canio was an inspired choice and he has guided the Black Cats to a six point gap on the drop zone and another win here would take them to the coveted 40-point mark.
Aston Villa have looked far sharper over the past few weeks and I fancy them to grind out a win to end Di Canio’s run. Defeat at Old Trafford was inevitable and they will have marked this one down as the real target.
Betting on BETDAQ – Alan’s Punts:
Man City v West Ham– Back Man City with –1.5 Asian handicap at 2.06
Arsenal v Man United – Back the draw at 3.6
Aston Villa v Sunderland – Back Aston Villa at 2.31
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