The Premier League’s top two finally meet in north London tonight and if Manchester City beat Arsenal I think it’s “here we go again” time.
For the first time this season I feel that the trophy will be staying with champions City, who look like they’re ready to make a big push in the title race.
They have a phenomenal squad – just look at their bench – and their experience of winning game after game in the run-in is invaluable.
If they beat leaders Arsenal at Emirates Stadium and go top of the table for the first time since November it will send out a massive message.
Mikel Arteta’s side are definitely City’s biggest rivals; the top two have games in hand on third-placed Manchester United, while Newcastle United have forgotten how to score.
But if they are to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004 they will need to avoid defeat at the very least. Even a draw would be a step forward.
Arsenal have lost momentum in the last two games. They lost to an Everton team who should have been cannon fodder for the Gunners and then failed to win ugly against a very well-drilled and compact Brentford.
Although Eddie Nketiah has deputised well, I feel they need Gabriel Jesus back soon to keep going toe-to-toe with City. The Brazilian is a huge miss because his work rate sets the tone.
We know City can be vulnerable at times, and if Arsenal can take advantage and win they will go into their next game at Aston Villa in fine fettle.
But another defeat would sow more seeds of doubt about their title challenge and make a reunion with former manager Unai Emery at Villa Park all the more tricky.
I think the Premier League’s issuing of more than 100 charges against City for alleged financial rule breaches has actually galvanised the team.
What better way to respond to a perceived injustice than to batten down the hatches and give everything to win another title?
I know if I was in a team in that situation that it would certainly bring the dressing room closer together, and I think Pep Guardiola will use that.
City’s pressing hasn’t always been at its most intense this term but there were signs in last weekend’s win over Villa that it is returning.
Rodri is the key player in that respect, effortlessly breaking up play and probing the opposition, and the Spanish midfielder is back in excellent form.
They haven’t yet resolved the conundrum around Erling Haaland, but he comes into his own when opponents play higher up the pitch and leave space in behind – as Arsenal will. I also think he will be a huge asset in the Champions League, which he loves.
Arsenal need to stick with what has worked for them: hunt in packs, get in City’s faces and sniff out opportunities to burst into attack.
Both teams will have their spells on the ball and I think it will be a high-energy contest. Whoever gets an early foothold I expect to win.
And if Arsenal show weakness and lose, it will provide United with an incentive to put more pressure on them for second place.
Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. @TrevorSteven63.