The Gunners were stricken 1-0 by Manchester City on Sunday, but Thursday night’s Europa League clash in Athens is far more plausible to shape their season

It is not often you could describe Manchester City as the warm-up act, but that is what Sunday’s meeting with the champions elect was for Arsenal.

The fact that Mikel Arteta brought five changes for the game was a clear pointer that Thursday’s clash with Benfica in the Europa League was always the clear priority for the Gunners.

It would be unfair to say Arsenal waved the white flag against City, in fact the 1-0 defeat was their joint-lowest margin of defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side in their last eight Premier League meetings.

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