Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart insists that the Citizens need to be a million times better against Arsenal if they have to salvage anything from the game when they visit the Gunners at the Emirates on Monday, 21 December. City got out of jail against Swansea last weekend when they conceded an equaliser in the final minute of normal time but scored the winner through Yaya Toure, who bundled the ball in to score three crucial points minutes later in the injury period.
Hart believes they have the quality to win the league but their play has been very inconsistent this season, something they have to work on if they are to secure the top spot. City have won their Champions League group and have their best chance to qualify out of the group stages for the first time in their history, having drawn Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 16.
However, their league form has been very unpredictable, smashing the likes of Newcastle while being returned the favour against Tottenham and Liverpool, who beat them 4-1. Stoke City, an ostensibly lesser club compared to their financially astute rivals, also had the opportunity to put four past them but for a profligate performance from their forward line in a 2-0 win.
"It's a shame it needs the dragon to be poked before we come out of the cage. We know what we've got here and it's frustrating when we don't do it, but it's a long season and we've got ourselves into a good place," Hart said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"We need to be a million per cent better [against Arsenal]," he added. "We need to step up. We can be awesome when we want to be so we need to be more consistent – that's what we're looking for.
"We didn't play well [against Swansea] but we won. We've actually got a few days now before we play another game and we have to use that time wisely. We have to get our heads together and start playing properly again.
"I think about it now and we're [near the] top of the league, we went through in the Champions League as group winners, we're in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup. We're in a good place, we just need to start performing as we know we can. At least seven, eight of us. We know every couple of weeks people will have off-days."