Even if the FA Cup match is “very, very different” from the Premier League matchup next month, Mikel Arteta anticipates learning a lot about Arsenal from their matchup with Manchester City.
Leaders Despite not having played second-placed City yet this season, Arteta’s team has established a five-point lead over the defending champions with a game remaining.
Since the Arsenal manager wants to gauge his players against top competition, their first encounter of the season will now take place in the fourth round of the cup.
“It’s a big test for us against, in my opinion, the best football team in the world,” Arteta said.
“We’re looking forward to it, because it’s going to tell us a lot about where we are.”
That tie will take place at the Etihad Stadium, before the teams do battle in the league at Emirates Stadium next month.
Asked how one result might impact on the other, Arteta was dismissive.
“I think they’re going to be two very, very different games,” he said. “The context is extremely different. Let’s see.”
The numbers bear that out, with Pep Guardiola winning 13 of his 16 matches against Arsenal as City manager but suffering his only two defeats in this fixture in their two FA Cup clashes. Arsenal have won four in a row against City in this competition.
Arteta added: “Obviously it’s important to play well and to win; that gives you more momentum, more confidence and prepares you better for the next match. That’s our focus, to do that on Friday.”