Manchester City will be bidding to take a double digit lead at the top of the Premier League as they bring the curtain up on 2022's English game away to Arsenal. With Chelsea and Liverpool facing off the following day, the trip to the Emirates Stadium offers the reigning champions the opportunity to carve out yet more daylight between them and the chasing pack, turning what threatened to be a three team scrap into something of a procession.
Pep Guardiola's side have an exceptional record against the red half of north London in the top flight, but he would be the first to admit that this Arsenal might offer his toughest test yet with the Gunners riding high in fourth place. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Jan. 1 | Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
Location: Emirates Stadium -- London
TV: USA Network | Live stream: fuboTV (free trial)
Odds: Arsenal +480; Draw +33; Manchester City -188 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Arsenal: Mikel Arteta, the man whose diagnosis with COVID-19 in March 2020 brought English football to an abrupt halt in a matter of hours, will be missing from the sidelines again on Saturday after testing positive for the virus once more. He is not the only member of Arsenal's coaching staff who has been isolating with assistant Albert Stuivenberg to lead from the dugout with his boss keeping in touch over audio equipment. For one of the league's most hands on coaches it will be tough to be miles away from the action.
"I never experienced what I'm going experience tomorrow but it's what it is," he said. "It's going to be easy to feel frustrated and with a lack of options because of not being in training sessions, not being able to prepare things like you want, to pass the message like you want, to have the players feeling that you are next to them. It's a different experience. But we have to adapt to it and we have tried to do that the best possible way to get well prepared for tomorrow."
Manchester City: Relatively free of COVID-19 and with a squad so deep Guardiola was able to make no changes in victory over Brentford last time out, City look to be in menacing mood, seemingly keen to squash any dreams of a title race and get the league wrapped up swiftly. They will surely feel at home at the Emirates, where they have won their last four league matches, scoring inside the opening two minutes in their last two trips down the Holloway Road.
Raheem Sterling has often been Arsenal's tormentor, with eight goals and three assists against the Gunners. The England international returns to London in fine form and has scored in his last four Premier League matches. He and his team mates are determined not to take their foot off the gas. "It has been a decent start so far," Sterling said. "We need to keep the focus and go into the new year with the same mentality. We need to keep going and that is all we can do."
Arsenal are a better team than the one trampled under foot by City at the start of this season but not so good that they can expect anything more than a defeat. PICK: Arsenal 0 Man City 2