Mikel Arteta

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal’s push for the Premier League title is far easier than his side’s quest to win four in a row.

The Gunners head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon looking to open up a four-point gap to the reigning champions.

Arsenal are going in search of their first title since 2004, while City are looking to become the first side in English history to win the league four years running.

In his pre-match press conference, Guardiola intimated that Arsenal’s task is ‘easy’ in comparison to City’s.

“People cannot imagine how difficult it is – can’t figure this out for one second,” Guardiola said of City’s challenge.

“To fight for one title that you haven’t won for many years is ‘wow, it is easy’. But now being for many, many years still being there [competing] is ‘wow’. The benchmark for the new generations in this club, for what we have done is really, really good.”

Mikel Arteta

Arteta’s Arsenal sit top of the league heading into Sunday’s games / MB Media/GettyImages

Prior to City’s clash with Arsenal, second-placed Liverpool play host to Brighton & Hove Albion and they can move back into top spot with a win at Anfield.

When asked if City’s rivals are likely to drop many points between now and the end of the season, Guardiola replied: “The quality Liverpool have, Arsenal too to win, I don’t know how many games in a row, score a lot of goals, the quality they play so I don’t think so.

“I know my team when it’s close to the end, they do everything – they [Arsenal and Liverpool] will do too. So that’s why Sunday is the final absolutely.”

He added: “What you have done in the past in sport doesn’t matter. The past is the past. What matters now is Arsenal and then Aston Villa [on Wednesday]. You will not beat them if you are thinking in the past and what you have done before.

“Of course it is important what we have done before, but I didn’t expect to arrive where we are now [in contention]. But after more than 20 years, Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League, so they will have something to prove and that’s normal. When Liverpool won the title after many years [in 2020], that gives you ­something special.”

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