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Home form key to title race for Stones

HOME COMFORTS: John Stones is hoping for an improvement at the Etihad Stadium.

HOME COMFORTS: John Stones is hoping for an improvement at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City must get results in front of their own fans if they’re to have the edge over their Premier League title rivals, according to John Stones.

The midweek victory over Watford ended a run of four league games without a win at the Etihad Stadium and was a welcome return to winning ways for the young defender.

It’s a result the 22-year-old feels must be capitalised on against Arsenal this weekend, with Stones certain City must improve their home form if they’re to maintain the pace set by the teams around them.

“We can’t afford to drop any more points at home, particularly against other sides fighting for the title,” said Stones.

“That’s why the Arsenal game is so crucial. We all know we have to pick up our form at the Etihad because we’ve not been good enough and dropped too many points.

“We want to put that right and if we can beat one of the best teams in the country it will give everyone a big lift.

“If we are going to challenge for the Premier League we have to beat the teams around us.”

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Arsenal come into the game on the back of a defeat at Everton, but it was only their first away loss in a season which has produced a number of impressive performances.

With Premier League top scorer Alexis Sanchez in their ranks they will no doubt be looking to bounce back this weekend, but Stones insists the main concern of he and his teammates is what threat they can pose to the visitors.

“We have to show Arsenal respect but also be aware of our own strengths and understand what we need to do to beat them,” he added.

“If we focus too much on them and what they can do, we could lose focus on our own capabilities – we can bring a lot to the table and we want to make sure we’re the best we can be in order to take the three points."

Sunday's game pits two teams who can be very easy on the eye against each other. The Blues' England international is expecting an exciting contest against the third placed Gunners and is hoping a positive performance will leave the fans celebrating another three points.

“We are both good footballing sides so it should be a great game – we just have to make sure we have the upper hand on the day and we will work hard to make sure that we win," Stones explained.

“We know we have had a few disappointments in recent weeks and we feel it as much as anyone, but we will stick to our game plan, work hard and hope that we get the rub of the green on the day."

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