Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, although weary of City’s attacking impetus, believes that the best way to defend is to attack. Pep Guardiola’s side have scored an impressive 35 goals in ten Premier League matches so far, 16 more than Arsenal, but Wenger is reluctant to adopt a more defensive strategy to contain City’s attack as he believes that would do more harm than good in 90 minutes.
“We will try to play our game – we will not hide, put it that way,” he said. “You want to defend well but you cannot only be focused on defending. We want to play and have the ball and create dangerous situations. Sometimes the best way to defend is to attack.”
When asked if playing the ‘Arsenal way’ would be a risk, considering how devastating City have been up front, Wenger responded: “You have to accept the risk if you want to play football. You accept the gamble and the risk. It’s part of the game. You have to rate the risk. Is it a bigger risk only to defend if a team is very strong when they attack?
“You can win with any style. That’s what makes football interesting. As long as you’re strong in the style you want to play. At stake for us is three points and we want to try to go there and win.”
City have been unbeaten in the Premier League this season with many suggesting that Guardiola’s side are more than capable of going the full campaign unbeaten like Wenger’s Arsenal did in the 2003-04 season. But the Frenchman remains sceptical as he thinks it is “too early” to predict City’s fortunes.
“It’s a bit early, only 10 games played and 28 to go,” he said. “That’s a long way. It’s difficult to extrapolate at the moment. They’re in a good patch but look at Real Madrid and everything that was being said about them a few weeks ago. It shows you how fragile everything is in the game.
“I don’t see all their games. If you look back there have been many great teams in England and they are certainly another one.”
The City-Arsenal match will be followed by Chelsea vs Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. The Red Devils are five points behind their local rivals and sit at second on the table.