In view of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Mikel Arteta is not focusing on Arsenal’s poor recent record against Manchester City.
Just after Pep Guardiola ‘s team soared to a 3-0 victory in north London last December, Arteta assumed charge at Emirates Stadium.
City has currently won every match between the sides since losing three years ago at this point of the FA Cup.
Nonetheless, Arsenal goes to the national stadium boosted by victories over Liverpool champions – who enjoyed an equally dominant record until a turnaround of 2-1 midweek – and Arteta maintains that the previous defeats are no way to treat their potential silverware shot at FA Cup.
“It’s a different City team, we are a different team as well,” he said, having twice lifted the FA Cup under Arsene Wenger in his playing days. “I know their strength and I know the flexibility they have, the things they are going to try, but even then, it is difficult to stop.” – the Gunners boss said.
“I want to focus on what we will try to do. If I worry about them, it’s not the message I want to send to the players.
“The message is what we have to try to do to win the game, to give us the best chance to compete against them over the 90 minutes to give them difficulties. That’s the same as every game.
“If I look at the trends before we played Liverpool, in the last two calendar years they had, you get depressed.
“What I need now is energy, trust in my players, belief. It is the FA Cup, we have a lot of experience here, we have a history related to that. Let’s go for it.” – the 38-year old added.
Arteta is uncertain if his former colleague Pep Guardiola can do well on reports that he is vulnerable to an extended stay, particularly in view of the Court of Arbitration for Sport removing City’s two-season prohibition on UEFA competitions earlier this week, but he claims that the joy of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Manchester is beyond question.
“I don’t know. He’s been there four years which for him is quite a long time already, and look at the success he’s had,” Arteta said.
“He feels really happy there. He is surrounded with great people across the club and feels the players, the identity and the style belong to him as well. He feels really close to the fans. I see him as really happy but I don’t know. That’s a question for him.”
Arteta reaffirmed his belief that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ready to sign a new deal and has reported negotiations with Real Madrid to make Dani Ceballos’ loan transfer a permanent one.
“Pure motives for football. My decision is always that. My only ambition is to put the best squad and best players who give us the best balance on and off the field.” – Arteta responded for several weeks about the decision to continue without Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners will try their luck in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Saturday at Wembley. Later, they will face Aston Villa and Watford in their last two games for this year’s season.