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Pep Guardiola fires title warning ahead of Arsenal clash

Pep Guardiola fires title warning ahead of Arsenal clash

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of Wednesday night’s mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash with title rivals Arsenal.

Just three points separate Guardiola and his former understudy Mikel Arteta at the summit of the Premier League, although the Gunners have a game in hand.

Victory for either side could prove monumental in their title bids. Arsenal could extend their lead to six points, while City could climb above the Gunners to the number one spot on goal difference if they win.

The Cityzens are looking to win the coveted trophy for a third successive season, while Arsenal are chasing their first league triumph since 2004.

However, Guardiola has told Arsenal they will have to ‘fight’ to take the crown, insisting his side will battle until the last day to defend their title.

“The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are,” Guardiola said (via the Guardian). 

“If they beat us because they are better, then this is sport. I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there.

“You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands. We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like. To fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. 

“If we don’t, accept it. But we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.”

Guardiola also urged his players to be aggressive and handle whatever pressure comes their way at the Emirates Stadium. He believes the Arsenal fans will be very vocal during the tie.

When asked whether his message to his players will be to enjoy the occasion at the Emirates Stadium, Guardiola said: “I don’t know if enjoy is the right word. 

“We have to be so aggressive, handle the rhythm and pressure. They are going to create pressure on us through the fans, the referee, the players. We have to be so active in many things.”

City will head into the tie on a positive note, having responded to the 1-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur with a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their last three games in all competitions, and the Gunners know they cannot afford another slip-up on Wednesday night.

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