Guardiola: “We have made an incredible season, they have been better. We want to be there as close as possible to them but the season is so long. Many things will happen, many tough games.” Arsenal travel to Wolves on Saturday.
Former Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus is now starring for Arsenal
Pep Guardiola says Arsenal are Premier League title contenders and has conceded Mikel Arteta’s team “have been better than City” this season.
Arsenal have the chance to head into the World Cup break top of the Premier League with a positive result away at Wolves, a game live on Saturday.
Manchester City, who play Brentford on Saturday lunchtime, are on their tail, just two points behind Mikel Arteta’s side.
“We have made an incredible season, they have been better,” said Guardiola.
“We want to be there as close as possible to them but the season is so long. Many things will happen, many tough games. We’ll see what happens.”
When asked if he expected Arsenal to challenge this season, Guardiola said: “Compared to previous seasons, that’s for sure. They will not be the only ones. Last season they were not a contender to win the Premier League, this season they will be.
“Mikel, we worked together three years but he was taught since he was born and has experiences in England. Maybe I learned more off him when we worked together. Arsenal has the work ethic, the talent, the support. Mikel had the bad moment in the beginning, but people see how he works every day, the commitment. He’s patient, all the managers want time to build something. Arsenal have given it to him, the rest is the position they have.”
Pep remains tight-lipped on contract talk
Guardiola remains calm over talk of his Manchester City contract that is set to expire in the summer.
City’s boss is in his seventh season at the club but has yet to finalise a deal on extending his current deal.
He said: “I’ve said many times, I don’t talk about that. Everything is under control, it’s perfect, the decision will be made together with the club the moment it has to be made.
“I said many times, I had the feeling that both the club and myself are happy to be together. It’s not the moment, tomorrow against Brentford is the only important thing right now. When we have time, when the moment we feel it both sides, we take a decision.”
Arteta plays down ‘contenders’ talk
Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are not thinking about winning the title after Guardiola described them as contenders on Friday, instead saying the Gunners are only focused on improving every day.
Asked about the prospect of being top for Christmas as the World Cup break begins after this weekend, Arteta said: “It would be great but our focus is to play better every single day.
“If we do that, then our chances of winning will increase and that’s where our focus is.
“What we try to achieve is to play better every day and we’re making so many strides.
“Our consistency level is much better too, whether we can sustain it is dictated day by day.”
Asked about Guardiola’s comments describing Arsenal as title contenders, Arteta added: “I’m not here to give opinions on that. What I want to do is finish as high as possible and play as well as possible.”