Pep Guardiola: ‘Arsenal are title contenders’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted that Arsenal are genuine contenders for the Premier League title this season.

City have stormed to the top of the table with nine wins and a draw from their opening 10 games, building a five-point lead over second-place Manchester United and a nine-point advantage over the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Guardiola’s side will have the chance to extend their lead further on a big Sunday of Premier League action as City host Arsenal and United travel to Chelsea, and Guardiola talked up the importance of maintaining their relentless form.

“We are in November. They won the FA Cup last season. The prestige of the club, the Emirates Stadium – of course they are a contender. It is nine points. The difference (between us) is nothing, believe me,” he told reporters.

“People consider we are going to play like the last two months all season. When that has happens I can say, ‘OK we have a big chance to be champions’ but nobody can assure you that. We have to fight.

“We know United are playing against Chelsea, so it is another game to make more advances on one of them, or both of them. That is why we have to be focused on an important game for us.

“At the least maybe (we could) leave Arsenal 12 points behind. It is a massive game for us for many circumstances, starting from the way we want to play, to try to win the game.”

City are unbeaten in their last 22 matches across all competitions, including an ongoing club-record run of 14 consecutive wins.