Pep Guardiola has congratulated Mikel Arteta for an ‘incredible’ season as Manchester City secured first place in the Premier League over the weekend.
Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest on Saturday meant City went into Sunday’s encounter against Chelsea knowing they were set to lift the Premier League trophy regardless of the result. But in a slightly underwhelming game, Julian Alvarez grabbed the only goal to stretch City’s winning run to 12 matches.
In contrast, Arsenal’s season has collapsed after such a promising start. The Gunners dropped points just three times in the first half of the campaign but have slipped up nine times since the midway point. Yet, given the team’s development under Arteta this term, Guardiola feels it’s been a good season for the North London club.
“I would like, on behalf of all the organisation and myself personally, to congratulate Mikel,” claimed the City boss after Sunday’s win over Chelsea. “Incredible, a big congratulations for what Arsenal has done.
“I think Mikel has brought Arsenal to the team it was in the past since many years being far away. A similar battle like Liverpool in the previous seasons. So they bring us to our limits.
“If we don’t make this run of 12 games in a row winning after making 50 points in the first leg, it would have been impossible. They lost some points and we were there. We pushed them and at the end we retained our title.”
Arsenal have won just two of their last eight in the league, leading to plenty of criticism that the team have ‘bottled it’ in the final months of the campaign. Yet Guardiola disagreed with that assessment, when speaking on Sunday.
“It’s the tendency to underestimate. They are winners,” he claimed. “We won two Premier Leagues from Liverpool from one point and they are winners. I don’t buy this product. Just because I got one point better than Liverpool, we are better?
“We pushed Arsenal but they are exceptional. They should be proud of where they have come from. They have to sustain it, that is the reality, but for me they are winners. They made me think a lot what I had to do to beat them, and they did it to us.
“Our relentlessness and not giving up and having the feeling that we have to win today otherwise it would not be possible, helped us a lot.”