Pep Guardiola: Manchester City must be ‘almost perfect’ to beat Arsenal to Premier League title

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City have to be “almost perfect” to catch Arsenal in the race for the Premier League title; watch Chelsea vs Man City on Thursday live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 6.30pm; kick-off 8pm

Pep Guardiola feels his Manchester City side must be near-perfect between now and the end of the season in order to have any chance of beating Arsenal to the Premier League crown.

Champions City trail the Gunners by eight points at the top of the Premier League, prior to playing their game in hand against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening, live on Sky Sports.

City had to settle for a point against struggling Everton in their last outing but Arsenal’s draw against Newcastle on Tuesday has offered a chance for them to cut the deficit.

Guardiola feels, however, his side have their work cut out to close the gap completely.

“The way they played against Newcastle again impressed me a lot,” he said. “They dropped two points but they didn’t drop the quality [with which] they played.

“We have to be almost perfect, I would say, from here to the end of the season and hope they drop a little bit in their performance.

“But, at the same time, I see the way we played the last games, and the feeling is good.

“My target always as a manager is to try to be yourself and be better than the opponent, and after if you concede one shot and they score and we can’t score, you have to accept it and move forward.

“What I want to see is us still fight, don’t give up, not now, until the last chance, until the last drop of water we can fight to win the Premier League, and the moment we are not able to win the Premier League we have to be ready to compete next season. This is when teams are really good.”

After taking the crown in four of the past five seasons, and with their financial strength, Guardiola admits his side face certain pressures unbeknown to their peers.

He added: “The advantage of Arsenal and Manchester United right now is nobody has to win the Premier League for 20 points ahead in November like Manchester City has to – and this is sometimes a big problem.

“People say, ‘Ah, yes, you are…’ Yes, we are, but with Arsenal winning all their games and you are seven or eight points behind… it [Arsenal winning the title] can happen.”

Pep: Foden has nothing to prove

Phil Foden has started just one of City’s last six Premier League games but Guardiola says this is simply down to the good form of other players, and nothing untoward on the midfielder’s part.

Asked what Foden needed to do to win back a place in the starting line-up, Guardiola said: “Nothing. I chose another. There’s not a special reason. The decision to play is exclusively mine and not because he is dropping something, absolutely not.”

Mount: No player performing like Haaland

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount on attempting to stop City striker Erling Haaland:

“He’s a very good player. We’ve seen what he’s been doing in the league this season, it’s going to be tough.

“We’re going to have to come together as a team and it’s going to have to be a full 11 to stop them as a team.

“Not just him, obviously, they have many good players. Coming into a game like this you have to be aware of a player like that, but not solely focused on him.

“We know he can be dangerous, along with other players. It’s going to be a tough game, an exciting game, and these are the kind of games you want to play in.

“I don’t think there’s probably any one scoring as many goals as him and performing the way he is. He has to be up there.”

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