Wenger: Gunners can stun City

December 18, 2011

The Gunners have hauled themselves back to within striking distance of the top four following seven wins from the last eight league games, fired by the goals of in-form captain Robin van Persie. Inflicting a second straight defeat on the high-flying Blues would reduce the gap to just six points, although Manchester United could overtake their rivals if they win at QPR earlier in the day. Wenger said: "We have to come close to Man City to be really in it. "We are in the race for the Champions League places at the moment - and the purpose is to get closer. We have a good opportunity to do it on Sunday." Wenger's squad have certainly turned their season around from the last time they visited Manchester at the end of August when they were on the end of a humiliating 8-2 loss at Old Trafford. While the Gunners boss accepts it was a difficult defeat to stomach at the time, it will not give his players nightmares when they head across the city this weekend. "I never gave too much importance to big scores because they are always under special circumstances, and on the day every ball they hit went in the top corner," the Frenchman said. "But it's part of football, and of course it's something we don't want, but I don't think that on Sunday it will even cross our minds." Wenger feels his squad deserve great credit for their response, which has also seen the Gunners safely through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, with both United and City failed to achieve. "If you have a strong mental response from your players it can help," the Arsenal manager said. "It took us a while to get over it - let's not fool ourselves - and we came back slowly, but there's something in the team that shows we have the resilience. "We are on the way of recovery but we have a big, big test on Sunday and let's see how we survive that test." While Arsenal continue to balance the books, Wenger accepts there are "no basic rules" as far as City's spending goes - which included £24million to buy midfielder Samir Nasri from the Gunners in August. Wenger, though, insists there will be no extra satisfaction from winning on Sunday other than the taste of victory itself. "The considerations of how much money they have and we have do not really come into the game, into your way of thinking before a game like that," he said. "You just want to do as well as you can."