Wenger could face a Manchester City backlash
Arsene Wenger Reuters

Pablo Zabaleta has warned Arsenal to expect a Manchester City backlash this weekend when the two sides face off in the Premier League.

Arsenal's recent form has defied the ridiculously premature forecasts of their apparent demise earlier in the season, as Arsene Wenger's side have embarked on an unbeaten run that has heightened the possibility of a top four finish.

Despite the prospect of facing an Arsenal team inspired by the prolific potency of Robin Van Persie, Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes the Gunners could face a reinvigorated City when Arsene Wenger brings his side to the Etihad this weekend.

Zabaleta believes City's chastening defeat to Chelsea on Monday night could be bad news for in-form Arsenal, because Roberto Mancini will demand a response against Arsene Wenger's revitalised side.

The Manchester City star believes Sunday's match against Arsenal offers them a great opportunity to put further distance between themselves and a potential title rival.

"We're the leaders with an advantage in the table and that's important. The concerns are for our rivals." Zabaleta told The Sun ahead of the Super Sunday encounter against Arsenal.

"The week not was positive with the Champions League and the defeat in London but now is the time for a reaction and show we want to be the champions.

"We must focus on the match against Arsenal. It is a chance for us to distance ourselves from another title rival." Zabaleta concluded.

Arsenal can close the gap on City to six points if they successfully negotiate a hugely daunting fixture by beating Mancini's side.

Arsene Wenger will have to do so without his left-back Santos, who has compounded the Gunners' fullback problems by being ruled out for the next three months. The Brazilian joins Carl Jenkinson, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs on the side lines.