Mancini in warning over RvP

The Gunners striker is in outstanding form having scored 14 goals

in his last 11 appearances. That run has propelled the north London

club up the Premier League table and they head to the Etihad

Stadium to face the leaders having won seven in eight games. City

boss Mancini said: “We know that every game we could meet a top

striker. “In the last game we met (Didier) Drogba, and on Sunday

Van Persie. “We must work harder when you play against a top team

with a top striker. “Van Persie is an incredible player. “At this

moment he is very good, like Arsenal. At this moment they are

playing very well.” City are looking to get back to winning ways

after surrendering their unbeaten record in a 2-1 loss at Chelsea

on Monday. And for all their brilliance this season, they could

even be second in the table come kick-off if Manchester United beat

QPR earlier in the day. Mancini said: “At the moment, us, United

and maybe Tottenham are the three teams that can fight for the

title. “But the season is long. Chelsea, Arsenal and, maybe,

Liverpool could also try. “The season is hard. We have a lot of

games to play in the next 40 days.” City swooped on Arsenal to sign

one of their stars of last season, Samir Nasri, in August. But the

Frenchman has failed to command a regular starting spot in City’s

impressive side since his £24million switch from the Emirates

Stadium. The 24-year-old showed glimpses of his talent as he

started four successive games recently but he was back on the bench

at Stamford Bridge and Mancini is demanding more from him. Mancini

said: “In my opinion Nasri is a champion – a top, top player. “I

think he can do more but when you change teams you can have a

problem. “At this moment his confidence is maybe not very good

because he didn’t play against Chelsea but if he plays Sunday he

has a chance to show us. “I would like Nasri to play better,

because he is a really good player.” Mancini feels now would be a

good time for Nasri to step up with midfield linchpin Yaya Toure

heading off to play in the African Nations Cup in January. The

Italian said: “We will lose an important player but I hope Samir

can play more games at a higher level. “He is a top player. Every

game a player like that should contribute.”