Arsene Wenger has declared that the confidence and credibility that his side will gain if they beat Manchester City on Saturday would be more important than the effect on the league table.
Last year Arsenal suffered a series of humbling defeats against the top sides, and if the Gunners are to mount a title bid they must improve their form against their main rivals.
Beating Manchester City at the Emirates would be the first step to erasing the embarrassment of last year’s losses, and would show that Arsenal are capable of competing with the top teams.
The Premier League Champions make the trip to Emirates with six points, one more than Arsenal, but Wenger believes that the points are less crucial at this stage of the season, and instead that victory would set the tone for the rest of the season.
The Frenchman told Arsenal’s official website:
It is a good opportunity to show that we have improved on that front because a year before it was completely the opposite and last year it was like that.
We have now got the opportunity to show that we have grown as a team, that we are more mature and ready for the fight. Let’s do it.
I don’t think that this game is very important for us mathematically [just] because we dropped points away from home [at Everton and Leicester]. But it gives us credibility and confidence if we do well.
It’s a big game and for us it is a home game as well. We had a decent start in the Premier League but of course we dropped some points and we have a good opportunity at home to play against Manchester City and get the three points.
Arsenal have already beaten Manchester City once this season, as they secured a memorable victory over the Champions in the Community Shield.
Since then Arsenal’s form has been mixed, but they remain unbeaten with a win and two draws from their opening three league matches. Victory over Manchester City could serve as a catalyst for their season, but defeat would dent morale, confidence and Arsenal’s standing in the table.
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