Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta confirmed that the upcoming clash with Manchester City is important but will not decide his season, praising Norwegian star Erling Haaland’s stunning performance.
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Arsenal will visit Manchester City tomorrow night, Wednesday, at the Al Ittihad Stadium, as part of the matches of the 33rd round of the English Premier League.
London’s Gunners lead the Premier League table with 75 points from 32 matches, followed by Manchester City in second place with 70 points from 30 matches.
Arsenal, who are seeking their first English Premier League title since the 2003-04 season, have drawn their last three matches and are in danger of losing their league lead, especially if they draw or lose.
Arsenal have lost their last seven matches against Manchester City in all competitions and have not won at the Etihad Stadium since 2015 in the league.
Mikel Arteta, 41, said during a press conference today, Tuesday: “We knew from the beginning that City and Liverpool are great opponents for what they’ve done over the past six or seven years and that’s why they deserve full credit. We wanted to close the gap as much as possible, and now we have strong competition.”
He added: “We knew we had to go to the Etihad Stadium and after that we would play five very difficult matches. So this Wednesday match is going to be really important, will it decide this season? The answer is no.”
And the Spanish coach continued: “Look at the reaction of the players after the last match, they protect each other at every moment, we really want it and we will show it again tomorrow night, but you have to show the right performance at the right moment, it has to be perfect, because that’s what is required at this time of the season.
Asked if the winner wins everything, Arteta said: “No, if we win tomorrow we won’t be crowned in the league. The percentage of winning the title may change, but five matches in this league is still very difficult.”
The Spanish coach praised Norwegian star Erling Haaland, saying: “When you look at the numbers, there is no comparison to any other player. Right. Even with him, they have the opportunity to play differently.”
On how to control Haaland and Manchester City, Arteta said: “We are working on their dangers as well as their weaknesses. We know their value. City start with the goalkeeper as he is a threat to the ball. They can do different things, you need to adapt to many things, so you need to focus on principles.”
Erling Haaland leads the league with 32 goals, eight goals clear of his second-placed Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
The Norwegian star shares the record for most Premier League goals in a single season of 38 matches with Egyptian star Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah.
Erling Haaland has scored 48 goals in 42 matches in all competitions for Manchester City this season, including 12 in the UEFA Champions League.