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Mikel Arteta got in early with two excuses before Arsenal even kicked off against Manchester City.
The Gunners boss spoke of his side's injury concerns and City's tactics as a problem in the run up to the match.
He told Sky Sports: "We have some players who have struggled to recover and train in the last few days."
Kieran Tierney is one player who the Arsenal manager could've been referring to, although the defender did start the contest.
Arteta then turned his attention to Manchester City's tactics as another pre-meditated excuse for his Arsenal side.
"I want to be positive and I believe we can beat them. When they play without a real number nine and the freedom they have, to create situations against them, becomes really difficult."
Pep Guardiola has consistently played without a recognised centre-forward this term in the absence of Sergio Aguero.
And the City boss rebuffed his former assistant's comments in his own pre-match interview before kick-off.
Guardiola said: "I have done many, many times this year [changing the team]. Everything is weird, you know.
"We will try to play good. It doesn't matter what positions people play. If we move then we will find the space to attack.
"If there is one person who knows better than anyone it is Mikel Arteta.
"Especially the individual qualities of the players, he knows absolutely all of us. It is good for him!"
Arteta's concerns were realised early on as City took the lead through a Raheem Sterling after just two minutes.
- Arsenal FC
- Manchester City FC
- Premier League
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