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21 February 2024

Still a long way to go in title race, says Guardiola

By Reuters

Pep Guardiola played down the significance of manchester City going top of the Premier League after his side's 3-1 victory at long-time leaders Arsenal on Wednesday.
City produced a commanding second-half display at The Emirates to record an 11th successive league win over the Gunners and leapfrog them on goal difference.
Both sides have 51 points but Arsenal, chasing a first title since 2004, have a game in hand.
The win will make City favourites to claim a fifth title in six seasons under Guardiola, but the Spaniard said the race still had a long way to run.
"They have played one game less so I consider they are top of the league," Guardiola told reporters. "There are still many games to play, the Champions League is coming the Europa League is coming. Many, many difficulties for everyone.
"But what is important is the fact that we could have come here a few weeks ago maybe about eight or nine points behind. Losing here it would have been almost over.
"But now because of the fact they dropped points, we came here for the chance to be close, we won the game, we are there."
City still have to play Arsenal at home at the end of April, which is when Guardiola believes the race will come to the boil.
"This league will be decided for the last eight or 10 games. There are 15 to go. Many games and tiring for the players."
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left to rue individual errors that contributed to a defeat that could prove costly.
Takehiro Tomiyasu's poor back pass allowed Kevin de Bruyne to put City ahead and an error by Gabriel enabled City to regain the lead through Jack Grealish before Erling Haaland's 26th league goal of the season sealed the points.
"It was an incredible battle between two teams and when we had them we gave them the goals. On the other hand, we had three big chances and we did not put them away," said Arteta, formerly Guardiola's assistant.
"I have more belief than I had before the game, with the performance and the level the team put in against City. They wanted to play a different game than the one we played and with the crowd we have we can do it," he added.
"They still have it (belief they can win the title), I can sense it. They feel they can do it."