Arsenal loading the big guns against Man City
It is hard putting a positive spin on a trip to Manchester City's fortress, especially after a midweek mugging in Naples, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger did his best on Friday. Man City vs Arsenal: Where the ideologies clashsports Updated: Dec 14, 2013 01:47 IST
It is hard putting a positive spin on a trip to Manchester City's fortress, especially after a midweek mugging in Naples, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger did his best on Friday.
The heat is rising on the Premier League leaders who face City and Chelsea in successive league matches - two fixtures that will test their mettle as the season careers towards the hectic Christmas schedule.
City have won seven out of seven at home in the Premier League, scoring 29 goals and conceding two, and will be oozing confidence after Tuesday's 3-2 victory at European champions Bayern Munich.
Arsenal suffered a major jolt on Wednesday when a 2-0 defeat by Napoli cost them top spot in their Champions League group and confirmed the prospect of a horror tie in the last 16.
Wenger's thoughts are focused firmly on what he thinks is a perfect chance for his side to build a nine-point lead over the side many view as Premier League title favourites.
"Let's not forget that if you are in City's position and they lose, then they're nine points behind, so they have more negative pressure than we have," Wenger said on Friday.
"We have a positive pressure that we can make a big difference with them, so let's look at it like that." Arsenal have had 24 hours less to recover from their exertions in Italy but Wenger says, while not ideal, the early kickoff on Saturday can work in his side's favour.
Chelsea, who are five points behind the Gunners, face Crystal Palace later on Saturday.
Manuel Pellegrini's side sit fourth, six points behind Arsenal, but they have a golden opportunity to reduce the gap with a victory at Eastlands, where they put six goals past Spurs last month.
It is a huge test of City's ability to regain the title they won in 2012 and Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta believes their 3-2 win over European champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday will give them the belief to shoot down the Gunners.
"Beating Bayern was such a huge confidence boost," he said. "We know Arsenal are six points on top of the moment.
"There is still a long way to go in the Premier League. We want to win it (the title) back again and Saturday is a crucial game for us."