Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that the current Manchester City team are a step ahead of his 2003-04 “Invincibles” side because they have much more in the tank.
“We had no petrol but ideas, they have petrol and ideas,” he told BBC Sport at a news conference ahead of today’s home Premier League match against Newcastle.
The Frenchman also clarified that by petrol he means resources and quality in their management and players.
“They have everything they need to be successful. Everyone expects that they will last the season, so why not? Everything goes for them in games but they have the quality to turn it in their favour,” he added.
Arsenal saw their record of 14 straight league wins (over two seasons) broken by City in a single campaign on Wednesday, when Pep Guardiola’s men beat Swansea 4-0. The Gunners, meanwhile, played a 0-0 draw at West Ham and are in seventh place going into today’s meeting with Rafael Benitez’s team.
Only one point separates them from Tottenham in fourth, but in what is shaping up to be a tight battle for the Champions League places, Arsenal can ill afford to drop more points.
Wenger is also pleased with the attitude of Alexis Sanchez, and has backed the forward to come through his dip in form. The Chilean has not scored in his last three games and was subdued against West Ham.
“He is focused in training. It is true that at the moment it hasn’t come off as much as it did before,” the Arsenal manager said.
“But you go through periods when it is like that, and I must say he fights and he always tried to make a difference.
“Overall I cannot fault his commitment or his attitude at all.”
Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt for today’s match at the Emirates, while Aaron Ramsey is out for about three weeks due to a hamstring injury.
Newcastle lie in 16th in the Premier League table and are likely to struggle to get a result.
However, captain Jamaal Lascelles believes his side have not yet fallen into a relegation scrap, despite a woeful run that has seen them plummet down the table after losing seven of their last eight league games.
“When you keep getting bad results it’s going to knock you a little bit as a human being,” he said.
“But with the manager and players we have, we can definitely sort things out.”