Declan Rice insists Arsenal have no Manchester City inferiority complex
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Rice insists Arsenal have no Man City inferiority complex

Declan Rice insists Arsenal are not inferior to Manchester City as the two title rivals prepare to meet at the Etihad this weekend.

Arsenal travel to face the defending champions as Premier League leaders, with just a point separating the teams in the table ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

The Gunners pushed Manchester City close for the title last season before ending the campaign as runners-up, with a 4-1 defeat at the Citizens contributing to their collapse across the run-in.

 

However, Rice – who signed from West Ham in a club-record deal in the summer – insists Arsenal have learned lessons from last season and says the north Londoners are relishing this weekend’s crunch clash.

“These are the games you want to be in,” he told The Telegraph. “These are the games you look back on at the end of your career.”

Rice said Arsenal are keen to shake off the tag that came with last season’s stutter during the run-in and believes there is confidence within the group to handle the pressure of the title race.

“You know what people say about Arsenal when they don’t win games or if they get close,” he said.

“When they missed out on the top four two years, last year when they lost the league. I think this is a new Arsenal now. I think this is an Arsenal that has learnt from last year, a group of players who are getting older, more experienced.

“We brought in some great players over the summer, who have all had a massive impact on the club. So look, I think we are ready to change that barrier about what people say about Arsenal. But it’s down to us. We are the ones who have to go on the pitch and do it. It’s that mentality thing — how much do we actually want to do something, and win something, for this club.

“Last year they [the Arsenal players] were obviously gutted. You don’t hear them speak too much about it but I think you can just see there is a difference this year, in terms of mentality and mindset, how everyone is around the place, being calm and taking one game at a time.”

Despite topping the table, Arsenal will enter Sunday’s game as underdogs with Manchester City unbeaten in 38 games across all competitions on home soil. However, Rice insists that the Gunners are in no way inferior to the reigning treble winners.

“Let them be stacked against us. I would rather go there and be an underdog and prove to everyone that we can be the team that we really want to be. I would rather people say we are this and that, and for us to go there and shock people and show them how good we are.

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“It is a game of football. We are not inferior to them at all. We are Arsenal, they are City. We have got some unbelievable players, they have got some unbelievable players. It is set up to be an unreal game.”

Read – Ranking the five best defensive midfielders in the world right now

See more – Manchester City vs Arsenal – Combined XI ahead of Etihad clash

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