Pep Guardiola sums up Arsenal’s current level ahead of New Year’s Day clash at Emirates

Pep Guardiola has quelled talk of the title being wrapped up already by describing Manchester City’s next opponents Arsenal as “one of the top teams right now”.

City secured yet another three points on Wednesday night as Phil Foden’s early effort was enough to separate Guradiola’s men from hosts Brentford.

The victory marked City’s 10th consecutive win and also gave them sufficient breathing room at the top of the Premier League table, now sitting eight points in front of nearest challengers Chelsea.

City were boosted by Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat away at LeicesterCity the evening prior and would have been delighted to finish their contest and seen Chelsea had also slipped up at home to Brighton& Hove Albion.

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Pep Guardiola has played down talk that suggests Manchester City will cruise to the title
Pep Guardiola has played down talk that suggests Manchester City will cruise to the title

The Blues had been leading for much of the tie thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s header, before former Arsenal man Danny Welbeck salvaged a point for the Seagulls and scuppered Chelsea’s title charge late on.

Despite this, Guardiola has claimed that both Liverpool and Chelsea can still catch his City side, particularly because City are about to take on “the best Arsenal team in the last four or five years”, according to the City boss.

Pressed on whether City now had a strong grip on the title, Guardiola told Amazon Prime: “There are 54 points to play for. It is not expected to have this distance for eight and nine, but Liverpool play one game less.

“But is is 54 points. In December no one is champion. We are going to lose games. I see in my mind, Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton coming.

“We have a game in London against Arsenal, maybe one of the top teams right now. The best Arsenal in the last four or five years

“I cannot say more than congratulations to the team but we must focus.”

City’s win over the Bees on Wednesday night means they will go into the new calendar year top of the pile, the third time they have done that after achieving the same feat in 2011-12 and 2017-18.

Phil Foden's goal was enough to secure the win over Brentford for Manchester City
Phil Foden’s goal was enough to secure the win over Brentford for Manchester City

In unwelcome news for their title rivals, City went on to win the league in both of those seasons.

City’s most recent victory was their 16th league win of the season after 20 games played, a staggering achievement made all the more impressive when factoring in their title rivals in Chelsea and Liverpool have both won 12, though the Reds playing a game less.

Much like he was with Arsenal, Guardiola was particularly complimentary of Brentford after the game.

“For the way they [Brentford] played it was the best performance. We cannot play better when they play in this way,” the City boss added.

“They were high pressing and it made it difficult for us to build up. After when they defend deep it is incredibly difficult as they are so organised.”

Guardiola will not be in for a reunion with former assistant Mikel Arteta when he takes his City side to the Emirates, as the Arsenal boss has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be on the touchline.

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