Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says it is ‘great’ they are facing Manchester City in their first game back from the enforced break as it lets them return at ‘full throttle’.
The Premier League is set to return to next week after almost three months away following the enforced suspension caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.
A return to action has only been managed as a result of the clubs voting on a new, shorter timetable and numerous protocols to ensure the risk of spreading the virus is minimalised.
Arsenal have arguably been handed one of the tougher returns, with them set to face Manchester City in five days time.
Rather than seeing it as a negative, though, Leno believes taking on the reigning champions is a significant positive for him and his teammates.
“I think that’s great because it starts at full throttle,” he told DFB @ Home, relayed by Fussball.de.
“Manchester City are an absolute top team, but that can also be an advantage for us.
“It will be a strange mental situation to play again after such a long break and short preparation time. I am very optimistic that we can land a surprise.”
Arsenal will return to action after a disappointing campaign that has seen them far off where they expect to be.
Unai Emery was sacked in December and replaced by Mikel Arteta, who has overseen improvement since his arrival.
The Gunners remain 9th in the table, though, eight points outside of the top four and three points outside of the top six.
At the moment a Europa League place looks the most likely opportunity but Leno has his sights set higher.
“I hope that in the end, it will be a European Cup place,” he added.
“The Champions League is also still there, also with regard to fifth place, because Manchester City may be kicked out due to the financial fair play.
“We were in a very good mood before the Corona crisis. Everything is very tight in England; I hope we take the chance and will be in the European Cup in the end.”