Kompany says Man City's match against 'wounded' Arsenal hardest yet
MANCHESTER -- Vincent Kompany believes Thursday's clash with "wounded" Arsenal will be Manchester City's hardest game of the season.
City can re-establish their 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a victory over the team they beat just four days earlier in the Carabao Cup final.
But Kompany has warned that Arsenal will be out for revenge after their humbling 3-0 defeat at Wembley.
"My opinion is simple. I think it's going to be the hardest game of the season," he said. "If my experience counts for anything -- you will play a wounded animal, with a lot of quality in the team.
"At the same time we are going to do everything we can to still be relentless. But my experience is that when you win a trophy there is always that 10 percent you lose in focus or sharpness, just because you've gone through all the emotion of winning something. It's our role to fight it and be prepared for the game."
Kompany lifted the trophy at Wembley on Sunday -- the sixth time he has done so as City captain and the Belgium international is now determined to win a third Premier League title.
City need six more wins to be certain of winning the title and could even wrap up it with a derby victory in April whereas his previous successes came on the final day of the season.
"It's almost a different analysis that I need to make than any of the other previous seasons," Kompany added. "In the previous seasons, usually it was around this time that it was hanging in there and by the end of the road we stayed calm and trusted ourselves and the players in the team. This season is different now.
"What I would say and what I have to say to everyone around the club is to remain focused to not let anything come in between what has brought you so far.
"If we can maintain this level of performance and intensity in training then we'll be OK. But never take it for granted -- it takes a lot of work."
City finished last season without silverware but Kompany believes that Pep Guardiola laid a lot of the groundwork for success in his first campaign.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Pep deserves more than he's even attributed to at the moment for how we've developed as a team," the defender said. "It's entirely his vision, entirely his work and we have the responsibility to bring it across on the pitch which is obviously not nothing.
"There's a lot of leadership that's helped us to get this far. Last season is something that I will always argue about because I don't think we had a bad season. A lot of what we've done this season has been developed out of what we did last season.
"We were getting punished in many ways, like what happened against Wigan in the FA Cup, where they had one chance and scored and we had plenty of chances we missed.
"That happened throughout the season last season and that's been the difference with this season, where we've scored last minute goals and the players have raised their individual performance levels. I was never worried because with good players these things eventually become good."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.