EPLMatch Reports

‘I will kill them!’ Mikel Arteta issues Arsenal message ahead of Man City showdown

Mikel Arteta promised to ‘kill’ any Arsenal player who is unable to handle with the strain in tonight’s Premier League summit clash between Arsenal and Manchester City.

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The long-time leaders have relinquished the impetus in the title chase on the strength of three successive draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton.

Arteta’s young side appear to have wilted at a vital stage in a season which has promised so much to this point, but a positive result at the Etihad would go a long way to reviving hope that a first Premier League crown in 19 years is theirs for the taking.

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The concession of two goals leads allied to the chaotic nature of a demoralising draw against the team propping up the rest of the division has led to claims of Arsenal bottling the championship, but Arteta believes he sees no evidence of his side being restrained.

‘No,’ answered Arteta when asked if his squad was feeling the strain. ‘And if they do, I will simply say: ‘I will murder them.’ And I don’t want it at all.’

‘Obviously the belief is there,’ he added. ‘When I look at how they trained, how they reacted after that, the tone in the dressing room, how they’ve been defending each other in every moment.

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‘We genuinely want it and we’re going to show it again tomorrow night. Then you have to deliver in the right moment, the right performance and it has to be perfection because that’s what this last level wants – utter perfection in every single ball.’

City, by contrast, have hit form at the appropriate moment in the season and can extend their winning run to eight games with a victory this evening.

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Despite their immaculate recent record, Pep Guardiola confesses he still feels worried ahead of his side’s biggest game of the year.

He said: ‘Being uneasy is part of our lives, being anxious is part of our lives, being terrified is part of our lives.

‘We don’t have to be perfect. When we teach our kids, they (believe they) have to be ideal for Instagram and TikToks, and this type of thing, they have to be a genius.

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‘But I would say the unpredictability, things that happen before a game, happen. When I get that feeling I know it’s normal. The trouble would be if I didn’t have that emotion.

‘At the same time, after the game, whatever happens, good or bad or whatever, you say it’s just part of the game and we look to the next one. I prefer to live this type of adrenaline.’

Football Auditor

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