How Wednesday’s match between the top two teams could start a rivalry that may dominate English Premier League for the next few years.
Arsenal versus Manchester City on Wednesday will not be your regular first versus second in the league match.
Arsenal’s hopes of a first league title since 2004 rely heavily on this match. But its significance stems from the fact that it is the first staging of a rivalry that could possibly dominate the English Premier League (EPL) for the next few years.
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Liverpool versus Manchester City has been the league’s flagship fixture for the past few years and while it is still early days, the Arsenal-City rivalry appears to have the makings to take over that mantle.
In the heydays of Highbury under Arsene Wenger, Manchester City meandered mid-table, struggling to establish themselves in their own city. Wenger’s first title on English soil in 1998 coincided with Manchester City’s relegation from the first division for the second time in three years.
The tables turned after City’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008. They clinched the title for the first time in 2012 and have won the league in four of the last five seasons under Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal’s fall between the late Wenger and early Mikel Arteta years was quite spectacular: In the last five years, Arsenal have, on average, finished 28.8 points behind City each season.
In their 18 meetings between 2000 and 2010, City won just thrice and never away from home. In the last 12 years, Arsenal have won just four times in 25 games and only once at the Etihad.