The Premier League features its most decisive game of the season this week as Arsenal lock horns with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side in a season-defining clash at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Arsenal are currently at the top of the Premier League but have endured a few potentially fatal stutters in recent weeks. The Gunners were stunned by Southampton’s resilience in a 3-3 draw over the weekend and have a point to prove in this fixture.
City, on the other hand, are in second place in the league table at the moment and have been in excellent form over the past month. The Citizens eased past Sheffield United by a 3-0 margin in their previous game and will look to achieve a similar result this week.
Speaking in his press conference on Tuesday ahead of the Arsenal game, Guardiola said he did not believe City being second this late in the season means his team have not matched the levels of the last two title-winning title campaigns.
Instead, he focused on the incredible standards set by Arsenal, who dropped just seven points in their first 19 matches.
“I didn’t have [the feeling] we were making a bad bad season or we drop a lot of games. The problem was Arsenal were unstoppable,” Guardiola told media.
“They made 50 points in one half. When this happens it’s hats off.
“I think we didn’t drop in comparison much from the previous seasons. But at the end we were consistent, kept believing, stayed there, game by game knowing what we have to do and in the end the situation is the situation.
“But tomorrow, at home where we feel comfortable with our people, I know everyone will be there and we will feel them. Hopefully our football can help to make them feel more and more. We will see. After, the players will do their best.”
Meanwhile, Arteta does not believes that Wednesday’s game will define the season.
“We knew from the beginning that City were the team to beat, probably with Liverpool, because of what those teams have done in the last six or seven years. They’ve fully deserved that credit and to be at the top. We were the ones that wanted to be closing that gap as much as we possibly could, and we are toe-to-toe with them.
“We knew we had to go to the Etihad, we know that after that we are going to have another five very difficult games. The game is going to be really important – but if it’s going to define the season, the answer is no.”
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