Arsenal’s chances of holding off Pep Guardiola’s men were dealt another huge blow on Friday night, when they drew 3-3 with bottom side Southampton – despite a dramatic late fightback.
The Gunners have now gone three matches without a win, meaning their lead over City is five points – having played two games more – ahead of Wednesday’s huge clash at the Etihad.
“I cannot wait, these are the games you want to play. When everything is at stake you have to go there to win,” Arteta said. “It is the beauty of this sport, you want to be in these positions. We will have an incredible trip to Manchester and we will prepare really well.”
Gabriel Jesus echoed his manager’s comments, telling his team-mates: “Now is the difficult moment – it is time now to stick together until the end.”
Jesus added: “It is not over, we are still five points clear. Manchester City have two games in hand but if we want to be champions, we have to go there to win the game – that is all… we are still there, we are still fighting and we will fight until the end.”
Arteta was left to bemoan individual errors after this latest setback, which began with a mistake from Aaron Ramsdale that allowed Carlos Alcaraz to open the scoring after just 27 seconds.
Theo Walcott doubled Southampton’s lead before Gabriel Martinelli pulled a goal back for the league leaders.
Duje Caleta-Car then restored Saints” two-goal advantage, only for late goals from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka to rescue a point for Arsenal.
“Obviously the task is even bigger but now we have to do the simple things better and cut out mistakes and then you will win games,” Arteta said.
“The concern is turning around these moments especially if the players in some moments are in doubt. In football you go through moments when you make errors and are not in a good moment but you have to come away from that. I have not seen anybody hiding, the opposite, they are willing to do more and more.”
- The Daily Mail report