Pep Guardiola says Manchester City will face the best Arsenal team since he has been in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Arsenal, managed by Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta, are seeking a first top-flight title since 2004.
But City would climb above current league leaders Arsenal with a win.
Asked whether this was the best Gunners side he had faced, Guardiola said at his news conference on Tuesday: “Since I’m here, yeah, definitely.”
Guardiola is unbeaten against Arsenal in the Premier League, winning 11 of 12 fixtures – including the five most recent trips to Emirates Stadium.
Wednesday’s game is the first league meeting between the two sides this season, although they did face each other in the FA Cup last month, with City winning 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal from Nathan Ake.
However, in the league Arsenal have lost just two of their first 21 fixtures so far this campaign, accruing 51 points.
Guardiola said: “So far they are the best team in the Premier League. They played an incredible first round of fixtures.
“We felt it, when we played them a few weeks ago, how committed and how sharp they are.
“We have to try to read the game and it will be a big, big battle. In every department you have to be ready.”
City cut the Gunners’ lead to three points with a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, the day after Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Brentford.
For City it represented a strong response to defeat at Tottenham the previous week and Guardiola is now hoping to build momentum.
He said: “I don’t believe in these statements that one week you can win and everything is perfect, tomorrow you can lose and everything is not good.
“There are many games to play, a lot of points. Tomorrow is another one, it’s an important one, we know it, everyone knows it and we have to try to perform well.”
Arsenal remain without long-term absentees Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny, while Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe lack match fitness.
Manager Mikel Arteta could name the same team in a seventh consecutive league match.
Manchester City will continue to assess injury doubt Erling Haaland, boss Pep Guardiola has said.
The striker was withdrawn at half-time on Sunday following a collision with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
Defender John Stones is still out with a thigh problem.
- Arsenal have lost 10 consecutive Premier League games against Manchester City, their longest losing run against one opponent in their league history.
- Manchester City have won their last six away matches against Arsenal in all competitions, as many as they had in their previous 61 visits to the Emirates and Highbury combined.
- No team has ever won seven consecutive away fixtures against the Gunners.
- Arsenal have failed to win consecutive Premier League games for the first time this season.
- However, the Gunners are unbeaten in their last 13 top-flight home fixtures, winning 11 of those matches.
- They have lost their last eight Premier League games against reigning champions, conceding at least two goals on each occasion.
- The last time the Gunners beat the current top-flight champions was in a 1-0 victory over Leicester in April 2017.
- Each of the last three league goals Arsenal have conceded have been headers – none of the first 15 they let in this season were headers.
- Manchester City are the only side Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has failed to beat as a Premier League manager – he has lost all five meetings with City in the competition, with his team scoring just one goal and conceding 12.
- Manchester City have dropped 13 away points this season (W5, D2, L3), compared to 11 in total last term (W14, D4, L1).
- City have won each of their last 22 Premier League games on a Wednesday, the longest winning run on a specific day of the week in the competition’s history.
- Pep Guardiola’s team are at risk of losing three consecutive away league fixtures for the first time since July 2020.
- They have only scored six goals in their last nine away games in all competitions.
- Kevin de Bruyne has failed to net in each of his last 13 Manchester City appearances in league and cup.
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