Pep Guardiola plays down significance of Man City lead in title race and issues warning ahead of Arsenal clash


ep Guardiola has denied that the title race is as good as over and warned his Manchester City side they will be facing a dangerous, in-form Arsenal as they look to consolidate their lead at the top of the Premier League on New Year’s Day.

City extended their advantage to eight points by beating Brentford on Wednesday night, with second-placed Chelsea slipping to a 1-1 draw at home to Brighton thanks to Danny Welbeck’s 91st-minute equaliser.

Those results came 24 hours after Liverpool had also dropped points, losing 1-0 to Leicester, and Jurgen Klopp’s side have now slipped to third, nine points off the pace.

“[There are] fifty-four points to play for,” Guardiola said, when asked about the significance of the gap his side have opened up. “So, when you put it in this perspective, eight points is ridiculous.”

At least one of Liverpool and Chelsea will lose further ground when the pair meet on Sunday, by which point City could be 11 points clear, given they face Arsenal a day earlier.

However, Guardiola insists his side will be facing a very different Arsenal to the one they hammered 5-0 back in August, with Mikel Arteta’s men having won five games on the bounce.

“We play on January 1 against, maybe, right now one of the best teams on top form right now, Arsenal. Maybe we get them in their best moment in the last four, five or six years – I’m sure everyone will agree with me.”

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