Manchester City-Arsenal Preview
Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have learned from some chastening experiences against Manchester City ahead of the latest encounter between the two sides on New Year's Day.
Arsenal have lost their last nine Premier League games against City - their longest-such run against a side in the competition - in a barren streak stretching back to April 2017.
The Gunners were thumped 5-0 by City in the reverse fixture in August and have failed to so much as score against the Citizens in their last five meetings.
But Arsenal enter this clash in great form thanks to five straight wins in all competitions, scoring 19 times in the process, and Arteta is hoping for a different outcome this time around.
"I hope to experience a very different game," he said. "We started the last game with them really positively, but in the first action we conceded a goal and went to do 10 men.
"Some of those defeats help you to become better and stick together and understand what the level is, and the mistakes that you cannot make against this type of opposition.
"But City get better and better and the numbers speak for themselves. What they've done in the last calendar year is remarkable."
Arteta worked as part of the City coaching staff for three years before taking on his first permanent managerial role at Arsenal almost two years ago to the day.
The Spaniard will not be reunited with opposite number Pep Guardiola on Saturday, though, after testing positive for coronavirus for a second time.
While Arsenal may be in good form, City have strung together 10 successive victories in the Premier League and now hold an eight-point lead at the top of the division.
Despite that healthy lead, Guardiola is taking nothing for granted.
"There are 54 points to play for. It is not expected, but Liverpool have played one game less," he said.
"We have a game against Arsenal next, maybe one of the top teams right now. I cannot say more than congratulations to the team but we must focus."
Arsenal - Emile Smith Rowe
After a remarkable 2021 for club and country, England international Smith Rowe will be aiming to pick up from where he left off in the new year. He has scored in each of his last four Premier League games and would become the third-youngest player to score five in a row in the competition with another against City.
Manchester City - Raheem Sterling
Sterling was left on the bench for City's 1-0 win at Brentford last time out but is expected to be recalled to the starting line-up at the Emirates Stadium. The 27-year-old has scored in his last three Premier League away games against Arsenal - only Nicolas Anelka (five straight games) has a better such record.
- City have won each of their last four away league games against Arsenal, by an aggregate score of 9-0. It is as many victories as the Citizens had picked up in their previous 50 league visits to Highbury/Emirates Stadium combined (W4 D14 L32).
- The Citizens have opened the scoring in the first 15 minutes in all five of their Premier League away games against Arsenal under Guardiola, netting in the first two minutes in each of the last two seasons.
- Arsenal have only lost one of their last 10 Premier League games on New Year's Day (W8 D1), going down 2-0 at Southampton in 2015. At home, the Gunners are unbeaten in 11 New Year's Day games (W9 D2) since a 2-1 loss against Tottenham in 1985.
- City have won seven of their last eight Premier League games on New Year's Day, with the exception being a 1-0 loss at Sunderland in their title-winning season of 2011-12.
- The Gunners have won each of their last five Premier League home games, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last four. They last won five in a row without conceding at home in the competition between January-April 1999.
Updated December 31, 2021