Arsenal are title contenders despite loss of Van Persie, insists Mancini

The Manchester City boss feels that the north London side, who currently sit in third in the Premier League, will not let the departures of key players stop them challenging

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes that Arsenal are serious contenders for the Premier League title this season, claiming that they are “better than last season” despite the losses of Robin van Persie and Alex Song.

Arsene Wenger’s side have made an unbeaten start to the season, lying third in the table, and the Gunners travel to the Eithad Stadium on Sunday.

10/1 Arsenal are 10/1 with Bet365 to win the Premier League

And Mancini observed that the departures of key players have not had a detrimental effect on the side, warning his charges against underestimating the Londoners.

"Arsenal can compete for the title this season," the Italian told reporters.

"They are better than last season, even if they lost some good players. Maybe, because of that, there is less pressure on them this season.

"They lost Van Persie and Song, but the players they have brought in have experience and quality."

City come into the game off the back of a 3-2 Champions League loss to Real Madrid, in which they led on two occasions, only for the Liga champions to score twice in the final five minutes to snatch all three points.