Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is determined to put a major dent in Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish at the Emirates on Sunday.
City have won just once away to Arsenal in the last 42 years but could go a long way to securing Champions League football — and open a 10-point gap over the Londoners — with victory.
Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games, with fan division over the future of manager Arsene Wenger creating a fraught atmosphere.
And Sterling said: “It’s been kind of difficult for them more recently, but with the kind of players they have and the manager they have they can start winning games again and go on a good run at any moment.
“We have to have that in the back of our minds. We can’t think because they’ve been on a bad run that we’re going to win the game.
“We know it’s not going to be that simple because of the players they have in their team. We have to make sure we’re at the top of our game.
“We’ve still got quite a while to go before the end of the season. It would be silly to say that this one game will decide it because this league is so unpredictable.”
City face Arsenal again in a Wembley FA Cup semifinal on April 23 in a competition that represents both sides’ only realistic chance of silverware.
They won when the two sides met at the Etihad in December, fighting back from an early Alexis Sanchez goal with Sterling scoring the decisive goal.
“It was a massive win for us at the time. We’d lost to Chelsea which was a blow and then at Leicester,” the 22-year-old added.
“It was a massive stage of the season for us to be where we want to be, and the Arsenal game put us back on track. The game on Sunday will also be a massive, massive game.
“I have really good memories of the goal. I love playing against Arsenal. Hopefully it will be another good day.”
Sterling has flourished at the Etihad this season following the arrival of Guardiola, and forming an exciting young attacking trio with Leroy Sane, 21, and Gabriel Jesus, 19, before the Brazilian strike broke his foot.
He said: “It’s been really good. It’s a really relaxed camp. We’ve got a really friendly atmosphere and it’s amazing in the dressing room.
“We’re together as a unit and we’re strong. Everyone is together and it’s a great place to be at this moment in time.
“You can see it on the pitch because we look for each other and try to make sure we’re as close as we can be on and off the field.”
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