Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will not retreat into their shells at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Reuters

LONDON – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has pledged that his side will fight fire with fire when they tackle free-scoring Premier League pace-setters Manchester City on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s City are five points clear at the top of the table – and nine points above Arsenal – after amassing 35 goals in their opening 10 league fixtures.

Arsenal have won only once on the road all season, and crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in August, but Wenger says they will not retreat into their shells at the Etihad Stadium.

“We have an opportunity to show that we can deal with those kinds of games, and I am sure we can,” he said, in comments published by British media outlets on Friday.

“At the moment, we just have to prepare in a serious way with clarity and focus and give the maximum on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t like to come out on that (Arsenal’s tactical approach), but of course we will try to play our game. We will not hide.

“We want as well to play, have the ball and create dangerous situations. The best way to defend sometimes is to attack.”

Wenger made 11 changes to his starting XI as Arsenal secured a place in the Europa League knockout rounds with a 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.