Mikel Arteta ‘will kill’ Arsenal players who show fear against Manchester City
Mikel Arteta has told his stuttering Arsenal squad he will ‘kill them’ if they show any fear in their title clash against Manchester City.
The Gunners visit the Etihad on Wednesday night – live on talkSPORT – in a game that could decide who wins the Premier League.
Arsenal go into the match five points clear at the top of the table after suffering three consecutive draws.
City, meanwhile, have won their last six top-flight matches, and with two games in hand over Arsenal, are the favourites to win a third successive championship.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked whether he believes his players may be intimidated by the prospect of facing Pep Guardiola’s rampant side.
To which he said: “No. I’ve not seen any of my players being intimidated by that challenge and if I do I will kill them because I don’t want that at all.
“The level of this match demands absolute perfection in every single ball and we have to deliver that in our performance.
“Going toe-to-toe with City has been great but it’s not enough and now we are in this position we are going to win it.”
He added: “It will be a beautiful experience. That is what I want them to take. A beautiful experience where we do what we have to do to win the game.
“Belief and psychology plays a huge part. Obviously the belief is there.
“When I look at how they trained, how they react, the mood in the dressing room, how they’ve been defending each other in every moment.
“We really want it and we’re going to show that again.
“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 demands – absolute perfection in every single ball.”
In a blow for Arsenal, they will have to play without William Saliba for a sixth consecutive match after Arteta revealed he is still struggling with a back injury.
And the north Londoners are also sweating over the fitness of Granit Xhaka, who remains a doubt after he missed last week’s draw against Southampton due to illness.
Arsenal haven’t won at the Etihad since January 2015 – a game in which Arteta featured in.
But they know that claiming victory at City will swing the title odds back in their favour in the club’s quest to win a first title since 2004.
Manchester City vs Arsenal is live on talkSPORT on 26 April at 8pm
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