With a win on Saturday, Arsenal managed to leapfrog Manchester City and head back into third in the Premier League, setting up next week’s game at the Etihad Stadium very nicely indeed.
Arsène Wenger has spoken about the importance of finishing third instead of fourth, particularly in a year with an international tournament this summer.
A number of Arsenal players will feature at Euro 2016 and Wenger is eager to avoid a Champions League play-off match as soon as the season begins, adding pressure and fixtures to already heavy legs.
With that in mind, Nacho Monreal is eager to head into the Manchester City game with a positive mindset.
“[The Man City game] is like a final,” the defender said after the Gunners saw off Norwich City thanks to Danny Welbeck’s goal on Saturday. “The side that wins the match is going to finish third because I don’t think Tottenham are going to lose their three matches.
“So it’s a very important game.”
Manchester City are in action later on Sunday and could go back above Arsenal with a win. The Citizens have a far superior goal difference and are three points back after Saturday’s results.
Anything but a win for City on Sunday would keep Arsenal ahead of Manuel Pellegrini’s side and in the driving seat heading into next Sunday’s fixture.
Manchester City are also focused on the Champions League and Monreal is hopeful their exploits in midweek have a lasting effect.
“We have to take advantage of the fact they are in the Champions League semi-final and have to play a tough game against Real Madrid. We can have more rest and we hope to win.”