Arteta: City will be the team to beat once again

Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola

As we head into the new season, Mikel Arteta feels that Manchester City will once again be the team to beat if we’re to claim silverware in 2023/24.

Pep Guardiola’s team swept the board last season by claiming the Treble, and they’ll be looking for their first taste of Community Shield glory since 2019 at our expense at Wembley on Sunday.

On the flip-side, it’s a first chance for us to try to extract a psychological blow on our opponents this term, and Mikel is hoping that a victory for a trophy will help prove that we’ve made advancements since the end of last season when we came so close to clinching the ultimate prize.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Shield showdown, he said: “We’re very excited to play a final and have the opportunity to win a trophy against a team that is the team to beat. They were the best team in Europe last season, and we know what the standards and are how we need to win the game, but we’re very excited.

“This is what we want, to be on every front fighting for trophies, and being as a club, on every front, to try and be the best. We have to prove that what we did last year was something, but it wasn’t enough to win the biggest trophy. 

“We have to be better and that comes every day with trying to be better, making better decisions and playing better, and deserving to win the game. In the end, the outcome will come by itself.”

There will be no bigger litmus test than a clash against the reigning Premier League, FA Cup and European champions, who beat us three times last season to overhaul us at the top of the table and claim the crown for a third-straight season.

Mikel believes that to be the best, we have to beat the best and is keen for us to end our wait for a victory against his former side on the weekend in an effort to move on from previous setbacks against City.

“They’ve shown their consistency over the years and they merit respect from everybody for what they’ve done,” he said of our opponents. “If you want to challenge for that championship you know the total points that you’re going to be needing and that’s unheard of in this league for the last 100 years. So that’s the standard and if you want to be there, you know what you have to do.”

The last meeting between the teams saw City run out 4-1 victors at the Etihad Stadium in April as well as the momentum completely shift in the title race, and the boss is targeting a much-improved display this time around.

“The game started in a way that we didn’t want, and they were better in every department,” Mikel reflected. “They deserved to win the game without a question of a doubt, so for us to win the trophy on Sunday we’re going to have to be much, much better than we were then, that’s for sure.”

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