Arsenal hero Lauren says Gunners will beat Man City if Arteta plays strongest XI

Arsenal legend Lauren has urged Mikel Arteta to field his strongest side against Manchester City in the FA Cup.

Arteta will come face to face with his close friend and former colleague Pep Guardiola when the Gunners take to the Etihad for their fourth round clash on Friday night. The fixture will hold extra importance given the two sides’ rivalry in the Premier League title race this season.

With Arsenal playing City again in just two weeks’ time, there may be a temptation to rest players as the Gunners push for the title. But former Arsenal Invincibles right-back Lauren believes not losing the FA Cup tie will be key for their confidence going forward.

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Lauren told FairBettingSites: “We have to respect the decision of Mikel Arteta, but if I was him, I would play Arsenal's strongest XI against Man City on Friday. Obviously, he'll have to check if any players are not fully fit with the club doctors, but he needs to keep the momentum of the team.

“We have to go and try to beat Man City, we can't make eight changes but we'll have to accept it if Arteta decides to. Momentum is key and it keeps the confidence of the team up, it's crucial for all competitions.”

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The Gunners have not faced City yet this season due to rearranged fixtures caused by the winter World Cup. But they still lead the reigning English champions in the league by five points and a game in hand.

Arsenal’s rivalry with City heated up last season when they dominated their opponents at home, before Guardiola’s side managed a last-gasp winner in a hard-fought affair. The north Londoners went on to sign two City stars in the summer in Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus, who have been key to their success this season.

And Lauren believes Arsenal’s recent form will give them the edge on Friday night, despite them having struggled at the Etihad in recent years.

He added: “Man City away at the Etihad will be a very tight game, but there will be plenty of goals for sure.

"I think and I hope Arsenal will win that game, the momentum of a win against Man City will be crucial for when they play against each other in February.”

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