John Stones, Ruben Dias


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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has insisted he is keen to avoid another seismic defeat to Manchester City when the two sides meet on Sunday.

The Gunners can strengthen their title credentials with a first win at the Etihad Stadium since 2015, but head north knowing this fixture was crucial to their demise last season.

Arteta’s men were hammered 4-1 by City in April 2023 and Arsenal later ended up surrendering top spot to Pep Guardiola’s side having spent 248 days in first place.

In his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked what he felt after last season’s humbling defeat to City.

“Not nice, I guarantee you,” he replied. “I don’t want to go through that again because we knew after that it was going to be very difficult, something that we fought for that many months. It was a different timing as well.”

John Stones, Ruben Dias

City ran riot in last season’s meeting / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Arsenal could end Sunday three points clear of Liverpool and four of City, but they are also capable of dropping to third by the end of the day if results go against them.

After roaring back to win last season’s title, City are still the widespread choice to claim victory in this year’s race, and Arteta believes they deserve to have such backing.

“They have earned the right, for seven or eight years with what they have done,” he continued. “To everybody who believes they can do it again, they have given no reason to anybody else to think they cannot do it, so we have to give them the reasons.

“We haven’t done it so we cannot expect to be spoken about like City or Liverpool at the moment because we haven’t done it.

“We have to do what we feel and what the team needs and try to shape that up. They are in the best possible mindset and they are convinced and they have a feeling they can beat any opponent. We can use different tools to do that.”

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