Gary Neville believes will prove too strong for if they produce their best form but has warned both clubs there is the potential to ‘damaged’ during the Premier League title clash.
Premier League title rivals Arsenal and Man City meet for the first time in the league this season on Wednesday night as ’s defending champions make the trip to north London.
Mikel Arteta’s side enjoyed a near-flawless first-half to the Premier League campaign, amassing 50 points from their first 19 games to put huge pressure on Manchester City.
But Arsenal’s slight wobble – they lost to earlier in the month and – has allowed Man City to close the gap to just three points ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.
Neville says the upcoming clash will not determine the outcome of the Premier League title race but insists both clubs have the chance to inflict a major psychological blow on their rivals.
Manchester City have not been at their scintillating best this season – dropping points in almost a third of their league games – but .
‘We’re nowhere near a run-in yet and there’s been a lot of hype over the title in recent weeks,’ former Manchester United and England defender Neville said on his .
‘Ahead of this game I’m hearing what Sir Alex Ferguson would say all those years ago. I’m not sure Pep Guardiola or Mikel Arteta are wired in the same way but Fergie would be getting right into us.
‘He would be getting right into us in the next 48 hours, he would be onto us and be saying, “This is it – we win on Wednesday and we win the league.” He would be saying things like that to us.
‘Man City haven’t won the league if they win on Wednesday but the mentality might change. That’s the type of thing Fergie would be saying.
‘I think Pep Guardiola will really fancy this against one of his prodigies in Mikel Arteta, who has done a wonderful job this season.
‘Arsenal have been the best team so far, but they can be damaged on Wednesday. They can be very damaged. And so can Man City and Arsenal should remember that.
‘People will think City are hunting Arsenal down but Arsenal can damage City too because if they play to the levels they can play, they will win the match, because City are not at their level yet.
‘If they don’t and they lack courage and conviction – which can happen with teams that haven’t won titles – Man City will go for it.
‘It’s a really interesting game but we need to remember there’s still a long way to go in the Premier League title race after.’
Manchester City are bidding to win the Premier League for the fifth time in six years while Arsenal are aiming to lift the title for the first time since 2004.
City but will be facing the Gunners for the first time in the Premier League this week.
Asked about the importance of Wednesday’s clash, Guardiola said: ‘Arsenal have a game in hand. We will see after all the games when the Premier League is finished.
‘But we are going to London to try and get a win. When one team has made 50 points in the first leg it is because they are very good. We closed the gap today because the performance from the team was really really good.’
, ., and .