Mikel Arteta expects to learn a lot about Arsenal from their FA Cup clash with Manchester City, even if that match is “very, very different” from next month’s Premier League encounter.
Leaders Arsenal are yet to meet second-placed City in the league this season, but Arteta’s men have forged a five-point gap to the defending champions with a game in hand.
It means their first meeting of the campaign will come instead in the fourth round of the cup, where the Arsenal manager plans to measure his team against elite opposition.
“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.”
Here’s your full #EmiratesFACup fourth round draw
Which game are you most looking forward to? pic.twitter.com/Sv99V8eU3r
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 24, 2023
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.”