The last thing Mikel Arteta needs in the midst of a crisis of confidence at Arsenal is another morale-sapping defeat.
But there is an air of inevitability about the Spaniard losing out to his compatriot and close friend Pep Guardiola when their teams meet on Sunday.
Rewind to 20 years ago and this fixture would have been very different. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were challenging for titles and playing free-flowing football, with Manchester City struggling.
But now, under Guardiola’s stewardship, it is Man City now calling the shots with three league titles in four years.
Arteta will be desperate to prove himself to the man who mentored him at the Etihad Stadium after working as his assistant.
But the record books suggest it could be another painful defeat for the Gunners. Here are eight of the Gunners’ worst league results against their Premier League rivals…
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal, August 28, 2011
If the Premier League ever needed an advert to prove its entertainment value, there is simply no better place to look.
For Arsene Wenger, it really was a day to forget.
Arsenal were plagued by injuries and suspension problems, but not enough to warrant a defeat of this kind.
Amazingly, it took until the 22nd minute for United to break the deadlock when Danny Welbeck finished past Wojciech Szczesny. Van Persie then had his penalty saved by David de Gea to keep the score at 1-0.
Only a minute later, Ashley Young curled home a wonderful strike to put United in the clear. Just before the break, a Wayne Rooney free-kick made it three before Theo Walcott gave them a glimmer of hope with a goal in stoppage time.
But hope turned to horror in the second period of play when Rooney found the net with another free-kick on 64 minutes. Three minutes later, he turned provider for Nani to execute a stunning lob on Szczesny.
Substitute Park Ji-Sung added a sixth before Van Persie made it a brace with a quarter of an hour to go. But the hosts were not done as Carl Jenkinson was sent off for a professional foul. Wenger, meanwhile, was sent to the stands after complaining to the referee.
Rooney grabbed his hat-trick with eight minutes to go and Young doubled his tally to make it 8-2 in stoppage time, ensuring it was the first time Arsenal had conceded eight in a league match since losing to Loughborough back in 1896.
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal, March 22, 2014
Jose Mourinho sides do not typically enjoy free-scoring performances due to the Portuguese’s disciplined approach. But the Blues were ruthless in their finishing at Stamford Bridge.
It was made all the worse by the fact that the London derby was the day Wenger was celebrating his 1,000th game in charge on the same day.
Samuel Eto’o opened the scoring with a deflected strike after five minutes and Andre Schurrle made it 2-0 inside seven minutes.
Then the controversy arrived. Hazard tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area and his goalbound effort was diverted wide via the hand of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But to Kieran Gibbs’ horror, the referee Andre Marriner brandished the red card in his direction — not Chamberlain’s. With no VAR in those days, the left-back had no option but to leave the pitch, innocent of the crime committed by his team-mate.
Hazard converted the penalty and after just 17 minutes, Arsenal were 3-0 down with 10 men. It would get worse before it got better though, with Oscar adding a fourth before the break and his second of the afternoon on 66 minutes.
Substitute Mohamed Salah rounded off the scoring with a neat finish as Arsenal sunk to their second-worst defeat in the Premier League era.
Manchester United 6-1 Arsenal, February 25, 2001
Also known as the Dwight Yorke show after the Trinidad and Tobagan netted a marvellous hat-trick to down the sorry Gunners.
Arsene Wenger’s men were on their way to a humiliating defeat after finding themselves 5-1 down at the break.
Yorke had bagged three goals for himself and set up another as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, now in charge of the Red Devils, and Roy Keane on the scoresheet. Thierry Henry got the consolation for the visitors.
Teddy Sheringham added a late sixth to compound the misery for the Wenger’s side and effectively hand the title to Man United once again.
The Gunners were the closest challengers to United in the league in the 2000-01 season and finished 10 points behind. Remarkably, those six goals conceded at Old Trafford actually accounted for 17 per cent of the goals they let in for the entire season.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal — December 29, 2014
As you will know by now, Arsenal have had worse results than losing 5-1 to Liverpool — but perhaps it could be argued their players have never downed tools in such a way before.
German playmaker Mesut Ozil, in particular, came under intense scrutiny for a poor display as the Reds ran riot under Brendan Rodgers.
Within the first 20 minutes of play, a rampant Liverpool side were already 4-0 up.
Martin Skrtel does not score often but the Slovakian defender notched twice, while a youthful Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge also added their names to the scoresheet.
Sterling made it 5-0 at the start of the second half, with Mikel Arteta’s penalty nothing more than a consolation.
Now a manager himself, the Spaniard will need no reminding of the pain he and his team-mates felt that day at Anfield.
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal — December 14, 2013
Manuel Pellegrini’s team were never great at the back but if there’s one thing they did not lack, it was confidence in front of goal.
At this point, City had already netted 35 times at the Etihad and scored in 58 consecutive home games. They started off in similarly devastating fashion here when Sergio Aguero opened the scoring early on.
An equaliser from Theo Walcott gave the visitors a way back into the match but Alvaro Negredo’s strike restored their lead.
Fernandinho made it 3-1 five minutes after the break only for Walcott to blow the contest wide open with his second of the afternoon.
But David Silva and Fernandinho again dashed their hopes of taking a point back to London — and late goals from Per Mertesacker and Yaya Toure ensured this nine-goal thriller went down as the highest-scoring game between the two sides.
For Arsene Wenger, this demolition was a reminder of just how far his side had fallen.
Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City — March 1, 2018
Finishing with 100 points and 106 goals scored, City were 19 points clear of their nearest rivals Manchester United at the end of the season. In other words, they were in a league of their own.
The very fact that City effectively sealed the title with this victory underlined that. Some might even say this was the peak of Guardiola’s powers.
It was an unfair match-up from the off. With the blistering pace of Leroy Sane and terrific skillset of Bernardo Silva, City only 18 first-half minutes to finish off this contest.
The Portuguese struck first with a stunning curling effort into the far corner following a slaloming run from Sane.
David Silva polished off a sublime team move to double the advantage and Sane got one for himself in similar fashion five minutes later. As Guardiola said after the game, City were “mentally strong” and “clinical”.
The crowd was sparsely populated with Arsenal fans in vast numbers leading the “Wenger Out” calls. Alas, the legendary Frenchman did step down at the end of the season.
Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City — December 15, 2019
With Unai Emery sacked and the club in disarray, interim coach Freddie Ljungberg appeared helpless on the touchline in trying to avoid defeat.
But it was a simple case of men against boys, with Kevin De Bruyne running the show. Just like their defeat 21 months prior, City struck three quick-fire goals in the first half to put the game beyond doubt.
De Bruyne was sensational, rifling a low finish into the bottom corner after just two minutes and set up Raheem Sterling for a simple tap-in.
Then he found the bottom corner shortly before half-time and the second half was all about damage limitation for Ljungberg’s side.
It was almost as if Guardiola took pity on his opposite number as City gently removed their foot from the gas pedal and switched to second gear.
Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal — June 17, 2020
It is somewhat ominous that Arsenal have not lost by a four-goal margin to Man City since 1928.
On this occasion, they lost by three and the chances of a more embarrassing result have to be much lower after their poor start to the season.
If there is one game where David Luiz needed to stay switched on, it was this. Instead, he made a catastrophic error to gift Sterling the opener on the stroke of half-time.
Then, five minutes into the second half, with Arsenal very much in the game at 1-0 down, the substitute made an unforgivable decision to tug Riyad Mahrez’s shirt when the Algerian was inside the box.
Anthony Taylor had no choice but to point to the spot and show the Brazilian a red card, capping arguably the worst individual display of his career.
De Bruyne stepped up and made no mistake from the spot before Phil Foden made sure of the points in stoppage time.