Stones and Guardiola send subtle title warnings to Arsenal as Man City close gap

620     0
Stones and Guardiola send subtle title warnings to Arsenal as Man City close gap
Stones and Guardiola send subtle title warnings to Arsenal as Man City close gap

Pressure is beginning to mount on Premier League leaders Arsenal after Manchester City struck back in the title race to reduce the gap at the top of the table.

The Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle on Tuesday, offering City the chance to regain the two points they had dropped in the previous round of fixtures. Riyad Mahrez's goal proved to be enough to earn City a vital victory on the road to bring them back to just five points adrift of Mikel Arteta's side.

The onus is now on Arsenal to maintain their advantage, but with a tough run of fixtures ahead, City boss Pep Guardiola and defender John Stones have cranked up the pressure gauge with some subtle warnings to their title rivals.

Optimism has been building at Arsenal but City are no strangers to a title race, and Stones was quick to highlight there was still a lot of football to be played as we approach the halfway mark of the season. "We don’t focus on the table, as the manager said before this game there were 66 points to play for," Stones said.

"There’s still a long way to go and we’ve got to take it game by game. We’ve got to keep the momentum going. If we perform like we did today I’m sure we’ll have a fighting chance at the end of the season."

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush rriqudiuriqkkinvChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

Guardiola was keen to point out the slender lead Arsenal now have over them, telling the BBC : "Well it could be seven points, or 10 or eight, but now the gap is five points."

Stones and Guardiola send subtle title warnings to Arsenal as Man City close gapMan City's John Stones shields the ball from Chelsea's Carney Chukwuemeka during Thursday's match (Mark Greenwood/IPS/REX/Shutterstock)

Who will win the Premier League title this season? Have your say in the comments below.

City's manager did reserve some praise for his former understudy Arteta's work, however, adding: "We have to look at ourselves but I have to admit, the way they are playing, Arsenal deserve to be there.

"It’s not just about the points, the way they are playing. Even when they lost against [Manchester] United and drew with Newcastle, the quality and the level they are playing is so good."

This is where City have proven their mettle in the past, though. A good start to the season has not often been one of their strong points having come from behind in previous title races. Guardiola has now led his team to four titles in five seasons before adding Erling Haaland to his ranks in the summer.

After the FA Cup this weekend, Arsenal next travel to rivals Tottenham in the North London derby before welcoming Man Utd the following week. Meanwhile City face the same two opponents in reverse order in their next two Premier League fixtures, while they make the trip to Arsenal for a title showdown on February 15 - a game which Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher feels is crucial for the Gunners.

Speaking after City's win over Chelsea, Carragher said: “Watching Arsenal the other night, I just felt they needed to relax. There so long to go in the season and when you're talking about Man City can win so many games in a row, that's what Arsenal have virtually done in the last sort of two or three months before the World Cup. I think they’ve only dropped points in three games, that is some going.

"I think a lot of it will come down to the two games against Manchester City. If Arsenal want to win the title, they have to take four points off Manchester City I'd expect, and that would put them in a great position. But I think Arsenal have been absolutely fantastic; they don't need to worry because they dropped two points. That's going to happen.

"Man City's last three home games, I think they drew with Everton, lost to Brentford and scored a last minute goal against Fulham, I think. You can drop points at home and Arsenal dropped points against the best defence in the league right now, so there's no need to panic."

Darren Wells

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus
15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation