Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal's solid start to the new season will stand them in good stead for Sunday's showdown against Manchester City.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their opening five games of domestic and European action this term and have conceded just two goals, while finding the net 10 times in racking up three victories and two draws.
Arsene Wenger's men are currently third in the early standings, while Tuesday's UEFA Champions League victory over Montpellier was an added confidence boost ahead of the testing trip to the Etihad Stadium.
This season is in contrast to last term, when the north London club lost three of their opening eight games, including the infamous 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United and a 4-3 reverse at Blackburn.
And defender Mertesacker is also keen to make amends for the narrow reverse they suffered at the hands of Roberto Mancini's men on their visit to City last season.
"We are convinced that we can stay in the league, at the top, and that's our target for Sunday," he told the London Evening Standard.
"Last year we lost at Man City. It was a very tight game so we will try to do better this time.
"We are in a better shape than last year because we are now in a good shape from the beginning. Maybe we can get more there - we are well prepared now."
Team-mate Mikel Arteta knows they will have to be at their best against the reigning champions, who went through all of last season without suffering a league defeat in front of their own supporters, with their last home reverse coming at the hands of Everton in December 2010.
The midfielder said: "It is going to be tough, City have not lost at home for a long time.
"It is big test, [we must] show our character. Last year we were unlucky to lose there."