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Mikel Arteta plays down Manchester City clash as Premier League title decider

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has claimed that his side’s heavyweight clash against Manchester City on Wednesday will not define their season.

Off the back of a rough patch where they have dropped points in three consecutive matches, Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium with their lead at the top of the standings down to five points having played two games more than their nearest challengers.

The Gunners have an opportunity to put their destiny back in their own hands by securing all three points in the blue half of Manchester.

However, their manager has played down any notion that tomorrow’s result will determine the destination of the 2022-23 Premier League title.

“We knew from the beginning that City was the team to beat with Liverpool because of what those teams have done,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference.

“We wanted to close that gap as much as we could and we’re toe-to-toe with them.

“We knew we had to go to the Etihad. Is it going to define the season? The answer is no.

“The biggest game is the next one – the biggest game of my career would have been Southampton.

“We have to live the day. That is going to change every week.”

Since taking over at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta is yet to record a league win over former boss Pep Guardiola with his only success in this match-up coming in the 2020 FA Cup.

As he prepares to oversee what is inarguably the biggest game of Arsenal’s season, Arteta will have to cope with the absence of star defender William Saliba, while Granit Xhaka’s involvement is also doubtful.

Arsenal will be expected to put up a great fight as they look to take one step further towards securing a first league crown since the 2003/04 campaign.

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