Mikel Arteta has told his squad he will “kill” any of his players that is intimidated ahead of the potential title decider clash with Manchester City today.
Arsenal travel to the Etihad with a 5 point lead ahead of the defending Premier League champions Manchester City and cannot afford a defeat after three costly draws.
Arteta said: “I’ve not seen any of my players being intimidated by that challenge and if I do I will kill them because I don’t want that at all.
“The level of this match demands absolute perfection in every single ball and we have to deliver that in our performance.
“Going toe-to-toe with City has been great but it’s not enough and now we are in this position we are going to win it.”
Arsenal have lost their last 11 league games against City yet Arteta believes the string of defeats has given his reason to be optimistic.
Arteta, who spent 3½ years as Guardiola’s assistant at City, said: “I am confident we can win because of what I have seen when we played against City in the past.
“Also what I have seen from my players all season and from the way we have prepared.
“We know this is going to be a massive game but it is not going to define our season because after this we still have five more fixtures.”
Arsenal will have to stop 48-goal City striker Erling Haaland without key defender William Saliba, who is again ruled out with a back problem.
The French international has been sidelined for the last six weeks and Arteta admitted: “Unfortunately there has been no real improvement with William.
“We’re hopeful he can play again this season.
“We are preparing for this game without him and our next match against Chelsea will probably come too soon as well.”