Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is planning to throw out the history books ahead of his side’s Barclays Premier League match at Manchester City on Sunday.
“I believe we have the potential now to be much more stable and to show that we can do it”
The north London outfit suffered a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium last term and have struggled against the clubs who have finished among the BPL’s top four in recent seasons. But Wenger believes Arsenal are approaching a turning point, and says the past will matter little against City, who lie two points adrift of leaders Chelsea, this weekend.
“You have many games when you know you will be judged on your potential,” he said. “Manchester City is one of them. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are other games that people have a close eye on to judge your potential.
“The history will not play a big part in this game. It’s the performance of the day that will play the biggest part and the only important part. I believe we have consistency. Last year, we did not win the championship only for that reason. We did not perform in the top games away from home. I believe we have the potential now to be much more stable and to show that we can do it.
“For many years [our record in the biggest games] was our strength and, in the last two years, it is true that it has been a weakness. I think we are mature enough now to rectify it.”
Manuel Pellegrini, who added to his squad with the signing of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City this week, could be boosted by returns to the starting XI for Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero. But Samir Nasri has been ruled out for up to a month with a calf problem and Edin Dzeko (thigh) remains a doubt.
Bony is at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, along with Yaya Toure, but it is Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez who is foremost in Pellegrini’s thoughts ahead of this weekend.
“Alexis is a very good player,” the City manager said of his Chilean compatriot, who scored twice against Stoke City last weekend to take his tally of Barclays Premier League goals to 12. “He is having a very good season in England. It is not easy for a player in his first season here to score so many goals.
“Alexis is repeating what he did in the last two seasons at Barcelona and scoring a lot of goals. I am very happy for him because he is a young player and very enthusiastic player and improving.”
Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Danny Welbeck (thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are all missing for Arsenal, who could welcome back Kieran Gibbs after a heel injury.
Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Boyata, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Fernando, Lampard, Milner, Navas, Silva, Sinclair, Aguero, Dzeko, Jovetic.
Arsenal (from): Martinez, Ospina, Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Flamini, Gnabry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky, Alexis, Campbell, Giroud, Sanogo, Walcott.