Arsenal game 'is massive' says Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry


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The Independent Football

Gareth Barry has urged Manchester City to rediscover the form that made them champions.

City have won just two of their five competitive games, coming from behind to beat promoted Southampton on the opening weekend and then seeing off QPR 3-1.

They also had to come from behind to snatch draws at Liverpool and Stoke, while on Tuesday they conspired to concede twice in the final three minutes to lose against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu when victory was in sight.

So far, the damage has not been too bad. City are just two points adrift of Premier League pacesetters Chelsea, while losing to away from home to Real will not, in itself, hamper progress to the knockout stage.

However, with in-form Arsenal due to visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Barry realises now would be a good time to hit top form again.

"It has not been an ideal start to the season," the England midfielder said.

"We finished last season with a great defensive record.

"This time we are scoring a lot of goals but conceding at the same time. I am sure as the season goes on it is something we can work on."

City have won four of their last five home games against the Gunners.

Their only recent setback came in 2010, when Dedryck Boyata was sent off just five minutes into a 3-0 defeat.

However, despite the loss of Robin van Persie and Alex Song during the summer, Arsene Wenger's side have emerged a far more well rounded outfit than they have been for some time.

They head north fresh from a six-goal spanking of Southampton and also with a Champions League away win under their belts, neither of which City can claim.

In addition, reports have emerged of another spat between Mario Balotelli and manager Roberto Mancini, bringing even more focus to an important weekend.

"We have started pretty steadily in the league, undefeated," Barry said.

"But this game against Arsenal is massive.

"They are a great side and we have got to try to continue our fine home form."