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The Spanish midfielder feels the Gunners have been placed at a significant disadvantage ahead of Saturday's acid test against Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring side

Mikel Arteta fears Arsenal have been placed at a massive disadvantage ahead of Saturday’s Premier League crunch clash with Manchester City, which comes little more than 48 hours after the team returned from a draining Champions League encounter with Napoli.

Manager Arsene Wenger has already expressed his dissatisfaction at the schedule his side faces and has called for the introduction of an independent ethics committee to resolve fixture congestion.

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The league leaders face free-scoring City, who rested the majority of their first team for Tuesday’s win over Bayern in Munich, in Saturday’s early kick-off but Arteta insists the mood in the camp remains a positive one despite having little time to recover.

"The recovery time is very tight," he told reporters. "I don't understand why we play Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening, get back at 4am and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester. There is nothing we can do – just recover well. It's a big game and we want to win it.

"The preparation will just be about recovery. It's not ideal. There is a late warm-down [on Thursday], we try to get our legs back for Friday ... travel on Friday and be as well prepared as we can because they will be ready for us. They rested seven or eight players in Munich [against Bayern on Tuesday night].

"I think we have different options [in the squad]. You could see that we changed the team a bit again against Napoli. We have to be ready, no excuses. We know it can be a big statement if we get a good result against City. That's what we want."

Arsenal qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League by the skin of their teeth following a 2-0 defeat in Naples but Arteta will miss the first leg of their last 16 tie through suspension as a result of a red card he labelled “a joke”.

"It was a joke," Arteta added. "Two fouls in the whole game and two yellow cards, so I'm very disappointed. You miss the next game and you put your team in a difficult position. It was harsh and very unfair."

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