Men's Team

Dickov: Chance to chase silverware will be focus against Gunners

Paul Dickov says City’s priority will be making progress in the FA Cup when Premier League leaders Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The Gunners are currently on top of the table with a five-point advantage having played a game fewer.

But the two sides are yet to meet in the Premier League with the first of our encounters on 15 February at the Emirates Stadium.

Victory in the fourth round clash could potentially provide a psychological edge ahead of those meetings, but Dickov believes Pep Guardiola’s main focus will be on taking another step in the competition.

“Pep and the players will want to the win the FA Cup. They'll want another trip to Wembley and more silverware,” he said on Matchday Live.

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“People will say it doesn't matter because it's a cup game and this, that and the other, but it does matter.

“You want to go out there against your big rivals, against the best teams and show them that you are better than them and it'll be no different regardless of what team Pep picks on Friday night.

“It's going to be strong, when you look at our bench [against Wolves] it's going to be a top, top team.”

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Fellow City legend Shaun Goater says Mikel Arteta will also bring his team to the Etihad wanting a win, and that a victory would give the Gunners a boost to their title challenge.

“Make no mistake about it, both teams will want to win,” Goater said. “Arteta will want to win that because psychologically he'll be saying: 'Listen, we won the game in the FA Cup and we can go and do this in the league'.

“Pep does not want to be losing to any student at all. They're both top managers - Pep doesn't want to lose that game. He’ll want to win it and leave the marker there.

“And once we move on to the league game, he'll say: ‘Right, this is how we're going to approach it’. It may be tactically slightly different but both teams will want to win that game.”

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Arsenal have won three Premier League titles, but their last success was back in 2003/04 under former boss Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners have been in hugely impressive form in the first half of the season with Guardiola describing them as the best team in the country up until now.

City, however, have finished top in four of the five past seasons and Dickov says the squad have the experience of knowing how to get over the line.

“We are used to doing that,” he said. “Whether we are chasing or playing before teams or playing after teams or we’re leading from the front - this squad and these players know what to do whereas it's going to be a big test for Arsenal.”

Goater added: “We're halfway through and Arsenal has not been in a position where they have to sustain it. We understand it, Pep understands it, the players understand it.”

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