Pep Guardiola sets out Arsenal advantage over Man City in title race


Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted Arsenal could have one crucial element that his side do not have in the Premier League title race.

City turned in a calm and controlled display to win 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Saturday, but they hadn’t really looked like getting the winner until Erling Haaland’s late penalty.

The result matched City’s best winning run of the season in the league, at just three games, and they kept successive league clean sheets for the first time since August.

Arsenal have been maintaining their lead at the top on adrenaline in recent weeks and have needed dramatic late winners to beat Manchester United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in 2023 alone.

But Guardiola says that the Gunners’ desire to end a 19-year drought is behind their ability to pull results out of the fire, something his own side are struggling to match as they go for a third straight Premier League crown.

“Still Arsenal are the favourites because they are up front. They make an incredible first leg [of the season], they drop a little bit then come back again,” Guardiola said after the win at Palace.

“They have many years without winning the Premier League and they give you this extra that helps you win games in 93rd minute, 98th minute, that’s something they have which we don’t have because we won back-to-back two times.

“That’s why when the people say what about your opinion of the team and the season, after two times back-to-back, one team gets 50 points in the first leg, still we are there. Normally in this country when you win something a lot and you don’t start the season well or someone is better, you drop or you are not consistent.
“But still we are there. This is the best trophy and compliment we can have. I don’t know what will happen at the end of the season but they know we want to be there and we will fight to be there and this is great.”

The Catalan coach was swift to continue by piling on the praise for his squad of players, stating that it is ‘great’ that Arsenal will be aware of Manchester City’s unwavering desire to compete for the top-flight crown until the very last minute of the season.

“Normally in this country, when you win something a lot and you start to not start well a season, or someone is maybe better, you drop it. You are not this consistency. And still we are there. This is the best trophy, and compliment, that we can have.”

“I don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the season. But still they know that we want to be there, and we will fight to be there, and this is great.”

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