There’s a rumour that goes around the primary schools in Cheshire that a youngster once managed to smuggle a penguin out of Chester Zoo in their rucksack. It’s an urban legend that for a time people widely believed, and still there are grown adults in pubs recalling this story as if it is fact. However the stolen penguin story is merely a myth fueled by whispers, a lot like the belief that Arsenal always get hammered by the big teams.
Now, unlike the penguin story, there is some element of truth behind the Arsenal myth. Not many people will need reminding of the 6-0 defeat to Chelsea, 6-3 defeat to Man City or 5-1 defeat to Liverpool just last season. But those recent hammerings were on the road, and shouldn’t cloud your judgement when looking at the odds for this weekend’s crunch clash between the Gunners and Man City.
As the piece of design wizardry above shows, Arsene Wenger actually has a solid record at home in the league to Man City – notching up a win rate of 62 per cent. The Citizens have actually won away to Arsenal just once since Wenger arrived on the scene in 1996. That one win in 13 attempts came in January 2013 when goals from James Milner and Edin Dzeko secured three points after Arsenal were reduced to 10 men with Laurent Koscielny’s straight red card after just nine minutes.
They are two of just seven goals Arsenal have conceded at home to City in those 13 Premier League matches. In the same time the Gunners have racked up 19 goals and failed to find the net on just three occasions. Suddenly the odds of 6/4 for a City win are looking less appealing. A lot like a penguin gets less appealing when you realise that it’s not all ‘Happy Feet’ and singing. It’s an aggressive flight-less bird, with a razor-sharp beak causing chaos in your bathtub.
For the more cautious punters out there you couldback Arsenal at 11/10 in the draw no bet market – getting your money back if the points are shared. This fixture has resulted in an Arsenal win or a draw in 92 per cent of the league games Arsene Wenger has managed.
The Gunners looked admittedly lethargic in the league this year – a late comeback against Everton sandwiched between a last-minute win against Crystal Palace and an uninspiring draw away to new-boys Leicester. But Man City haven’t had it all their way either, following up an impressive 3-1 victory against Liverpool with a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City.
The odds favour Man City and rightly so. They’re the Premier League Champs, they’ve strengthened their squad over the summer and in Sergio Aguero they arguably have the best striker in the division. However Wenger’s record at home in the league to City speaks volumes and you’d be crazier than a 12-year-old penguin smuggler to dismiss Arsenal completely.