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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Arsenal’s long Premier League title wait is helping them score late goals and insists the Gunners are still favourites for the domestic crown.
Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Fulham on Sunday meant they restored their five-point lead over second-placed City with 11 games to play.
The Gunners’ latest win was more routine in comparison to the recent 3-2 triumph over Bournemouth where Reiss Nelson netted a 97th-minute winner, or last month’s thrilling come-from-behind 4-2 victory at Aston Villa.
Guardiola argued Arsenal’s long drought for a Premier League title, having not claimed the honour since 2003-04, was fuelling their belief late in games.
On the contrary, the Catalan sensed City lacked that desire having lifted four of the past five league titles.
“They have many years without winning the Premier League and that gives you a little bit extra to win games in 93, 96, 98,” Guardiola told reporters.
“That is something they have that we don’t have because we have won back-to-back, two times.
“That’s why when people say about your opinion on the team and the season it’s after two times back-to-back and 50 points for our opponents in the first half still we are there.
“Normally in this country when you win something a lot and you don’t start well or someone is a bit better, you drop it. You are not consistent. Still we are there. This is the best trophy and compliment that we can have.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season but still they know that we want to be there and we will fight to be there and this is great.”
The contrasting recent states of the clubs, given Arsenal’s league title drought and City’s recent dominance, has ensured Premier League favouritism has remained reserved despite the Gunners’ lead.
But Guardiola pushed the narrative that Arsenal were the favourites, even after City beat them 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium amid the Gunners’ three-game winless run in February.
“Still Arsenal are the favourites because they are in front,” Guardiola said. “They made an incredible first leg, they dropped a little bit but now they’re coming back.”
Six of Arsenal’s remaining 11 league fixtures at home, but they will travel to face City on April 26. The Gunners also have difficult trips to Liverpool and Newcastle United to come and host Chelsea too.
City also have six home games in their final 11, including hosting Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
. @ErlingHaaland ‘s penalty secured the points at Selhurst Park!
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 11, 2023