Ahead of today’s clash with Arsenal, and in the wake of Yaya Toure’s immense performance against Real Madrid earlier in the week, Arsenal playmaker Mikel Arteta has heaped the praise on his Ivorian rival and looked ahead to the match. He said:
When you look at their team now, the depth of the squad and the quality they [City] have then it’s tremendous. So they are going to be a big test for us. They have so many different ways to hurt you.
He [Toure] holds you and turns you and that’s the last thing you need to do. You need to play your position but not just let him play. It will be demanding but I’m sure they will be aware of us as well. For me, he’s one of the best midfielders in Europe.
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has suggested it will be extremely tough for City to retain their Premier League title this season. Speaking from experience he said:
When we won I looked around and noticed movement at Chelsea. They signed the likes of Drogba and Essien and I thought they could be contenders, which showed when they won it the next year.
City got off to a good start last season and that helped because they almost lost it in the end. I believe they have also looked around and noticed again Chelsea becoming strong once more and we are looking comfortable. It won’t be easy for them, that’s for sure.
The size of the challenge is not lost on City and Yaya Toure has emphasised the importance of winning at home:
For us to be successful we need to win at home. A championship team needs to be invincible in its own stadium and that is the challenge – zero points dropped in an entire season.
This match [Arsenal] is worth four points – three in the table and one extra because of the level of the rival.
The defeat in Madrid was hard to take because victory was so nearly in our hands. But perhaps it’s a lesson for us. We need to be decisive in the key moments and stop giving our rivals chances.