Man City V Arsenal at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

By
04 November 2017
Pep Guardiola calls on fans to help re-energise Man City after European exploits

Pep Guardiola has called on supporters to help re-energise his Manchester City side as they take on Arsenal on Sunday.

The City boss expects the Premier League leaders to be a little weary after Wednesday's exhilarating Champions League win away at Napoli.

City beat the Serie A pacesetters 4-2 in a compelling clash but they had little time to enjoy it before travelling home to begin preparations for the Gunners' visit to the Etihad Stadium.

"We need our fans' support," Guardiola said. "After the Champions League it is so tough.

"On Thursday (in the Europa League) Arsenal played without the real squad who are going to play on Sunday, so they rested for one week.

"The lack of energy we will have is normal after the Champions League, so our supporters can help us in that."

City have not been beaten in 22 competitive fixtures since being edged out by Arsenal in extra time of last season's FA Cup semi-final.

Their current run of 14 successive wins is a new club record but extending the sequence is not what motivates Guardiola.

"What matters is to play good and win the game," he said. "Records are always a consequence of winning games and making good achievements. The main thing is to win the next one."

City are clear Premier League favourites having opened up a five-point lead but Guardiola is taking no notice.

He said: "How many games are left? Twenty-eight. How many points? Eighty-four. Eighty-four points to play for, five points in front. It's nothing.

"Even for the best teams in the world, in the whole history, it's impossible to maintain what we have done in the last two months."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged his players to seize the opportunity to show they can compete with Manchester City.

Wenger's men sit bottom of the big six mini league - matches between the top teams under their current managers - and were humbled 4-0 at Liverpool in August.

But, following a string of victories on home turf, the Frenchman is keen for his side to make a statement against City.

"We have an opportunity to show we can do well against a big team away from home," he said. "It is one we want to take and I'm sure everyone in our camp will be focused on that.

"They are good, I don't want to take anything away from Manchester City at the moment, they are doing extremely well, they are top of the league and top of the European group stage.

"As well it is a good opportunity for us to show we can compete with them and that is what we want to show."

While City head into the game on the back of their triumph at Napoli, the Gunners qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday with a goalless home draw against Red Star Belgrade.

Aaron Ramsey could have a key role to play at the Etihad Stadium, and Wenger believes the midfielder is thriving in his new central role.

"I think he is calmer in the final third," Wenger said. "He always had many opportunities but rushed his decisions or execution sometimes.

"But, especially when you look at the goal against Swansea (2-1 win last weekend), a few years ago he would not have that chance in the same composed way. He is more mature, he is 27 now and that is important stage for a midfielder.

"I used him sometimes more out wide to balance the team because he can give you that defensive work, but I like him central. He is much more reliable defensively now than he was a few years ago. He is a big player for us."

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