Arsenal face another tough trip to Manchester

Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:17pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal's lunchtime game at Manchester City on Saturday could be a defining one for their Premier League title hopes, even if Arsene Wenger has greeted that idea with a typically Gallic shrug.

The Gunners have a comfortable cushion over second-placed Liverpool, who travel in the opposite direction on Sunday for a clash in North London with sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur (11 a.m. ET), and Chelsea.

"We are five points ahead and, overall, the Premier League is a marathon," said Wenger, speaking before his side progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League despite a 2-0 defeat to Napoli on Wednesday that left them facing a potentially tricky last-16 clash.

"We will be in the race no matter what happens."

City, who surged back from 2-0 down to beat European champions Bayern Munich 3-2 in Germany in their final Champions League group game, are fourth and six points behind Wenger's men.

Despite their position, Arsenal will be the underdogs against a side who remain unbeaten at home in the league this season and see no reason why they cannot at least match Manchester United's 1-0 win over the north Londoners last month.

"With the disappointing results we have had away from home, it's important that we try to go through the season winning every single home game," City's England midfielder James Milner, who scored the winner on Tuesday, said.

"That won't be easy, but the way we are playing we can do that."

Neither of City's top two league goalscorers played in Munich with Sergio Aguero, the second most prolific scorer in the Premier League after Liverpool's Luis Suarez, rested and Yaya Toure suspended.   Continued...

Arsenal's Coach Arsene Wenger leaves the pich at the half-time of the the Champions League soccer match against Naples at San Paolo stadium in Naples, December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi