Micah Richards has admitted that he fears one thing is ‘just going to kill’ Arsenal in the 2023/24 Premier League title race as Mikel Arteta bids to end Manchester City’s reign.

This term could see Manchester City set a new Premier League record or Arsenal finally end a 20-year title drought. Arsene Wenger secured the last top-flight title in north London back in 2003/04. His Invincibles side sealed the trophy whilst the Gunners still played at Highbury.

Arsenal came close to ending their drought last season as Arteta’s team pushed the Citizens the closest for the crown. But a late collapse to the Emirates Stadium natives’ campaign saw Pep Guardiola’s side win the title. Even though Arsenal had enjoyed 248 days atop the table.

Manchester City v Arsenal - The FA Community Shield
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Five points would separate Guardiola’s and Arteta’s sides at the end of the 2022/23 season. They were also the top-scoring teams in the division and also boasted two of the three best defences. Man City scored 94 goals to 33 conceded, while Arsenal hit home 88 but let in 43.

Arteta responded to his side’s end-of-season plight by signing Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice. While Guardiola has further strengthened Manchester City with moves for Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol. But both teams have also lost some of their key players.

Ilkay Gundogan left Etihad Stadium at the end of his contract after captaining the Citizens to the European treble. Riyad Mahrez has also headed for Saudi Arabia to join Roberto Firmino and Edouard Mendy at Al-Ahli. While Arsenal also sold Granit Xhaka after his superb season.

What has Micah Richards said about Mikel Arteta’s chances in 2023/24?

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
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Yet it is not the players Arsenal and Manchester City have signed and sold this summer that Richards claims will decide the 23/24 Premier League title race. Instead, the former Citizens defender fears the Gunners’ hopes may be over after Gabriel Jesus underwent knee surgery.

“I was close to picking Arsenal to win the title because no team has ever won it four years in a row,” he told BBC Sport. “But they are without Gabriel Jesus at the start of the season and I think that is just going to kill them.”

Arteta has confirmed that Arsenal will not have Jesus for the first few weeks of the Premier League season. The forward required an operation after reporting discomfort in the knee he injured at the World Cup. The surgery to repair ligament damage kept Jesus out until March.

Jesus’ injury saw Arteta start Havertz as a striker against Manchester City in the Community Shield. He also has Eddie Nketiah, Folarin Balogun and Leandro Trossard to pick from ahead of Arsenal starting the new Premier League season against Nottingham Forest this Saturday.

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