Bernd Leno insists Arsenal can spring a surprise against Manchester City

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Bernd Leno is backing his Arsenal side to down the Premier League champions (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno believes his side can take advantage of Manchester City’s rustiness next week thanks to Mikel Arteta’s inside knowledge of the Premier League champions.

The Gunners travel tot he Etihad on Wednesday 17 June, the Premier League’s first day back after the coronavirus hiatus, as they look to continue the impressive form they were showing before the break.

Arteta’s side had won their previous three league games before the global pandemic put the calendar on pause and risen to ninth in the table as a result.

Just five points behind Manchester United in fifth place, Arsenal’s chances of a European place are not over and Leno believes they have a good chance of picking up three points on Wednesday.

The three-month break creates something of a level playing field, but Leno believes Arsenal have an edge thanks to Arteta working under Pep Guardiola at Man City for three-and-a-half years as a coach.

‘We are prepared for the situation without the fans, we have worked during the break on our mindset and our leadership,’ Leno told Sky Sports News.

Football - Champions League - Group C - Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - November 26, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and assistant coach Mikel Arteta before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo
Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta enjoyed a successful time together at Man CIty (Picture: Reuters)

‘We can surprise City because nobody has the rhythm. I’m sure we can have a good start. Mikel (Arteta) knows every player and he knows the manager better than anyone.

‘I think Mikel will have a good game-plan and at this level we think we are a very good team.’

Arsenal’s return to competitive action hit a stumbling block with a 3-2 friendly defeat to Brentford last week, which drew criticism from former player Paul Merson.

However, Arteta has dismissed that result as there were multiple changes in personnel and tactics for the contest against the Bees.

‘We’re trying different things,’ Arteta told Sky Sports.’We’re trying to give minutes in their legs to all of the players, obviously you have to change a lot of players through the games

‘Getting adapted to playing in an empty stadium as well, not having that energy from the fans. It was good, we played two friendlies, we’re getting a bit of rhythm, we haven’t played for a while, we tried to make is as close as possible to a real game.’

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