Pep Guardiola has said he does not expect Arsenal to drop many points in the final months of the Premier League season, and claimed the fact that the Gunners are out of all cup competitions means they should have ‘incredible focus’.
Arsenal return to league action on Saturday following the international break, and will kick off around 30 minutes after Manchester City’s clash with Liverpool culminates. Mikel Arteta’s side currently hold an eight-point advantage over City, although they have played a game more than the reigning champions.
Guardiola’s men are used to drawn-out title battles, with Liverpool pushing City to the final day of the season in two of the last four campaigns. And Guardiola feels Arsenal are currently showing similar levels of consistency to that of Liverpool in previous campaigns.
It’s for that reason, and because Arsenal are no longer playing in the FA Cup or Europa League, that Guardiola claimed City’s experience at winning the league may have little impact on the final two months of this season’s title race.
“I don’t think so, I don’t believe in that, because at the end of the game it’s about what you have to do,” he explained. “You have to do it properly and when you play, you don’t play for experience. I never played a game thinking ‘I’m going to win this game because of experience in the past’.
“Every situation, every game, every opponent is different. Your personal and professional situation is completely different every season. That’s why I absolutely never pay any attention to that - in the good way or a bad way. They have many points still to play for, many games to play, and a lot of things can happen.
“But for the consistency Arsenal have shown this season, one game a week, out of the FA Cup and out of the Europa League. With one game a week, you can have an incredible focus and you can prepare. I have the feeling they won’t drop that many points.
“The best way is the feeling we had against Liverpool years ago, that they aren’t going to drop points. They didn’t and we didn’t either. It’s a similar situation right now.
“I would love to be in the position of Arsenal, rather than have the experience of winning four Premier Leagues in five years,” he added. “I’d prefer to be in Arsenal’s position in the Premier League than the one we have. The advantage is that they are eight points in front of us, this is the real advantage.”