City were disappointing in their Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, struggling to create meaningful chances in either leg of an underwhelming tie. They went down with barely a whimper at the Bernabeu in midweek, with the 1-0 aggregate scoreline flattering Pellegrini’s men.
They have won just one of their last five games but Pellegrini wants that put right at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Victory over the Gunners would lift City back above Arsene Wenger’s side into third in the Premier League.
However, anything less than a victory and their place in the Champions League next season could be under threat.
“I always visualise the positive things — to try to win the game against Arsenal that allows us to be in the third position,” Pellegrini said. “To play well, that is also very important. We didn’t play well against Real Madrid and I don’t like to play in that way.
“I expect us to recover our potential in attacking, that was our problem. It is a problem maybe none of the media expected we were going to have against Real Madrid, and it was the thing I was more sure of, that we were going to score a goal in some moments.
“I hope on Sunday we will continue being the ‘most scoring’ team in the Premier League for the third season in a row. We want to score goals and try to defend in the same way as we did against Real Madrid.”
With other big guns such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool having never been in contention, there is a feeling both City and Arsenal have missed an opportunity.
But Pellegrini said: “I don’t think that because that would not be giving Leicester all the merit they deserve. To say they just won because the other teams didn’t play well — I don’t think so.
“They beat us, United, Chelsea. They deserved to win the title because they were the best team. I don’t think all the big teams together couldn’t play well — they just did it better.
“They were the best team and they were the best team because they had their best players in their best performance.”
City are without captain Vincent Kompany, who is still waiting to learn the extent of the groin injury he suffered at the Bernabeu. Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva remain on the sidelines while Aleksandar Kolarov also has a knock.