Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is planning to throw out the history books ahead of his side’s Premier League clash at Manchester City on Sunday.
The North London outfit suffered a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium last term and have developed an unwanted reputation for struggling at the division’s bigger clubs in recent seasons.
But Wenger believes Arsenal are approaching a turning point, and says the past will matter little against City – two points adrift of leaders Chelsea – this weekend.
“You have many games when you know you will be judged on your potential,” he said. “Manchester City is one of them. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are other games that people have a close eye on to judge your potential.
“The history will not play a big part in this game. It’s the performance of the day that will play the biggest part and the only important part.
“I believe we have consistency. Last year, we did not win the championship only for that reason. We did not perform in the top games away from home.
“I believe we have the potential now to be much more stable and to show that we can do it.
“For many years [our record in the biggest games] was our strength and, in the last two years, it is true that it has been a weakness. I think we are mature enough now to rectify it.”
Manuel Pellegrini, who added to his squad with the big-money signing of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City this week, could be boosted by returns to the starting XI for recent injury victims Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero.
However, Samir Nasri has been ruled out for up to a month with a calf injury, rendering him unavailable for selection to face his former club, and Edin Dzeko (thigh) remains a doubt.
Bony is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, along with City colleague Yaya Toure, but it is Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez who is foremost in Pellegrini’s thoughts ahead of this weekend.
“I think Alexis is a very good player,” the City manager said of his Chilean compatriot, who scored twice against Stoke City last weekend to take his tally of Premier League goals to 12.
“He is having a very good season in England. It is not easy for a player in his first season here to score so many goals.
“Alexis is repeating what he did in the last two seasons at Barcelona and scoring a lot of goals.
“I am very happy for him because he is a young player and very enthusiastic player and improving. But I don’t want to compare with Sergio.”
Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Danny Welbeck (thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are all missing for Arsenal, who could welcome back Kieran Gibbs after a heel injury.
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