Arsenal have been found wanting, and then some, against the big teams in the English Premier League this season. Some of the results have been more like cricket scores, and Arsene Wenger will be determined to avoid another embarrassing defeat when they host Manchester City at the Emirates on Saturday evening.
The last time the two sides met in the Premier League, City pasted the Gunners 6-3 at the Etihad. Wenger refused to admit Arsenal had been outplayed, insisting the scoreline could have easily been the other way around as well.
But at the end of the day, Arsenal, this season, have suffered 6-3, 5-1, 6-0, 1-0 defeats to major rivals, which clearly points to the fact that this team has been ill-equipped to weather a quality storm.
The latest big defeat, a 6-0 loss at the hands of Chelsea, followed by a 2-2 draw against Swansea in midweek, has pretty much ruled Arsenal out of the title race, even if only six points separate them from the Blues at the moment. Arsenal now need to look below them, with Everton fast creeping up looking to usurp the London side for the coveted fourth Champions League place.
"We have had difficult games [recently], and two games against Bayern [Munich in the Champions League] when we gave a lot," Wenger said trying to defend Arsenal's nightmare March. "We had a difficult schedule and now we have to minimise the period of bad results.
"Sometimes when you lose like we did at Chelsea, even if you don't win the next game at least don't lose it. That's what we have done. Of course because we are in a period where we needed the points, it's disappointing. But most of the time it's like that.
"The only game for me where we were really beaten was at Liverpool. The rest is a bit more coincidence going negatively together. At Chelsea the game was over after 10 minutes. At Liverpool we were outplayed on the day and there's not a lot to say.
"But one week later we beat Liverpool and no one says there is a gap there between the two teams. You have to accept that it is not always as simple as that in the game. You play 10 times against the same team and every time it's a different game."
Wenger will certainly be hoping it is not a similar game to the one at the Etihad, where City just had too much firepower, and looked capable of scoring every time they went forward.
Where to Watch Live:
English Premier League: Arsenal vs Manchester City Live Streaming and TV Information (Match starts 5.30 pm GMT, 11 pm IST, 1.30 pm ET):
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD2|
|US||NBC Sports Network|
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports 1, Talksport|
|Middle East||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Country||Live Streaming online|
|UK||HERE or HERE|
|Latin America||HERE or HERE|
City, unlike Arsenal, are coming off an impressive win over their Mancunian rivals Manchester United, and with the title at stake, Manuel Pellegrini's men will not be happy with anything less than three points from the Emirates.
"The week has started very well and we hope to finish in the same way," Pellegrini said. "I think it is always very important for the club, the players and the fans to win the derby, now we must try to win the next match to continue fighting for the title.
"This is a big game because it is against a team fighting for the title also. It's a match of six points, but not the match that will decide the title. Arsenal have not had a good week but they are a still a very good team. They are playing at home and have very good players and I am sure we will need to play a very good game if we want to win."
Team news: Arsenal: Wenger's injury list is made up of some of his best players, something that has surprisingly not been taken into consideration when critics have laid into Arsenal and their lack of fight and class on the pitch. Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Nacho Monreal are all out, but Kim Kallstrom could make his first start in an Arsenal shirt after coming on as a substitute against Swansea.
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero is still a week away from returning, while Matija Nastasic, Michah Richards and Dedryck Boyata are also ruled out. David Silva, though, is has been passed fit and is expected to feature on Saturday.
Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla; Giroud.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Silva, Nasri; Dzeko.