Ahead of tomorrow’s away match with Arsenal, here is a roundup of all the talk before the game. Roberto Mancini and Gareth Barry give their thoughts on City’s chances and Arsene Wenger and Wojciech Szczesny, of Arsenal, have their say.
We are missing a number of important players but we can go there and come away with a good result. We are seven points behind United at present but I don’t feel we deserve to be so many points behind.
Our strikers have been coming back into form again and scoring goals and we will need them to keep doing that. Sometimes you go through a period when you don’t score so many but we have scored 10 in our last three games so things are improving.
The last time City won a league match against Arsenal was in October 1975. Barry is keen to set the record straight:
I wasn’t aware it had been so long. Football is like that sometimes but 38 years is extraordinary. Records like that are rare but are there to be broken.
We have to go to the Emirates, play as well as we know we are capable of and see if we can put an end to our poor run of league results on their ground. They surprised me just how good they were in the 1-1 draw at the Etihad in September. They will be disappointed they’ve not played as well as that more often this season.
We know there is a need for us to keep winning games because seven points to leaders Manchester United is not a small gap and we can’t allow that to increase. But sometimes the pressure can actually flip around to the team in front and the one chasing can go into games more relaxed. We’re not going to let it overly worry us at this point.
A win against City would improve the confidence of the team. It would help to improve the confidence of the team – that is very important. You can see that it is important for every team.
For Chelsea the other night when they started to miss chances [against Swansea], it had an effect on the confidence of the team. That’s why we are in a similar situation to Chelsea. We have had positive results away from home and at home we are now getting back to positive results. We beat West Brom and Newcastle in a convincing way, so it is important to continue that
The title looks unlikely but we do not have to give up. We want to fight to come closer and then hope we still have a chance.
We have been very good against Manchester City at home over the past few years. They are one of the strongest sides in the country but I don’t remember the last time we conceded [against them in the league] at the Emirates. So we will be confident and I hope we can repeat last season’s performance – that should give us the result we want.
We are confident going into every single game. We were quite disappointed not to win at Swansea because we thought we were good enough to go through without the replay, but the most important thing is that we haven’t lost for a while now.
We have a tough run of fixtures in January, but I believe we can do very well. When you are on a good run like we are, you look forward to every game and you’re not afraid of anyone. So I think these fixtures against such strong teams come at a very good time for us.
Szczesny is also full of praise for his opposite number, Joe Hart:
I rate him as the best goalkeeper in the world. I don’t see a goalkeeper around who is as consistent as him, or better than him. I think he has been by far their best player in the Champions League, in fact probably the best player in the Champions League for any team. I rate him massively.