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Man City have to be near-perfect, says Guardiola

4 Jan 2023
Pep Guardiola celebrates with Erling Haaland

Man City manager says his team have to perform at a top level to catch leaders Arsenal

Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City team will have to be “almost perfect” if they are to finish above Arsenal and regain the Premier League title.

City have the chance to exploit Arsenal dropping two points in their goalless draw with Newcastle United on Tuesday night and close the gap on the leaders to five points if they win at Chelsea on Thursday evening.

Top four

Pos Team Pl GD Pts
1 ARS 28 +40 69
2 MCI 27 +42 61
3 MUN 26 +6 50
4 TOT 28 +12 49
View table

Guardiola was still impressed by Arsenal’s performance on Tuesday and set out his side’s objectives to claim a fifth title in six years.

"The way you have to reduce the gap is play good and win games,” Guardiola said. "They have an average, they’re going to do 100 points, Arsenal, the way they’ve done so far.

"If they continue that way, we will not catch them. So you have to be almost perfect, I would say.

"Yesterday they were excellent against Newcastle again. We will see what happens."

'Many things will happen'

Guardiola added that it was still early into the season, with the trip to Stamford Bridge the first of six matches in January for his players, which includes FA Cup and EFL Cup ties.

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This includes a possible three Premier League matches in nine days: the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on 14 January; a home match with Tottenham Hotspur on 19 January (if there is no FA Cup third-round replay); and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad on 22 January.

Asked whether the next six weeks would define the season, Guardiola said: "Six weeks? Or many weeks?

"In six weeks many things are going to happen, yes for sure.

"We haven't even finished the first leg [first half of season]. Many things are going to happen, this is my feeling, for all clubs and all teams."

Tough trip to Stamford Bridge

City must first face a Chelsea team looking to find form, with just six points from a possible 21. But Guardiola is expecting a test at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea have lost only one of their last 11 in the league.

"It's a tough game, [against] a tough side, well managed,” he said. "Stamford Bridge - what can I say? It doesn't matter what position you are when you travel there, it's always difficult."

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