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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Simon Collings

Arsenal vs Man City FA Cup showdown won’t impact title race, insists Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta does not believe that an FA Cup clash against Manchester City will have an impact on the title race, but will tell Arsenal “a lot about where we are”.

Arsenal are currently five points clear of City at the Premier League summit, with a game in hand, and the two rivals will meet for the first time this season on Friday night.

The significance of the fourth-round tie at the Etihad Stadium has been talked up, with another crucial meeting to come in the top-flight at the Emirates Stadium on February 15.

But Arteta said: “I think there are going to be two very, very different games, and to put similarities into them is very unreal.

“Maybe because of the players on the pitch, but as well the context is extremely different. Let’s see - obviously it is important to win and play well.

“That gives you more momentum, more confidence and prepares you better for the next match, and that’s our focus to do that on Friday.

“It’s a big match, and a big test for us against in my opinion the best football team in the world. I’m looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are.”

Arteta is expected to make changes to his team for Friday’s game, with centre-back Jakub Kiwior hoping to make his debut after joining on Monday from Spezia for a fee of £21million.

“He gives us more cover,” said Arteta. “We’ve been with three central defenders for the first part of the season which is very short, and we’ve been lucky with injuries.

Debut looms: Jakub Kiwior could make his first Arsenal appearance against Manchester City (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“We needed to recruit in that position and we’ve done it - Jakub plays different roles and is a versatile player, and he’s going to strengthen the team. If anything else is available that can make us better, we’ll look at it.”

Fellow new signing Leandro Trossard, who joined last week from Brighton as part of a deal worth £26m, could get his first start after impressing off the bench in last Sunday’s 3-2 win over Manchester United.

“I see a player that is willing to make things happen and is especially composed in the final third and is something we needed to add to the team,” said Arteta.

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