Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City cannot drop any points in title race

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Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City cannot drop any points if they are to secure a historic fourth successive Premier League as he expects Arsenal to win their remaining matches after proving their mettle by defeating Spurs on Sunday. Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland edged City past Nottingham Forest to leave them a point behind top spot but crucially with a game in hand.

“We prefer they lose, we cannot control what they do,” Guardiola said of Arsenal. “There are four games left, I don’t think they are going to lose any points, so we know exactly what we have to do.”

It was a less-than-vintage City performance in Nottingham as Forest, who expect to learn the result of the points deduction appeal this week, made it as difficult as possible with a disciplined defensive display. The hosts even had chances of their own but Chris Wood and Murillo failed to convert from close range.

“Really hard, harder than last season when we drew and we played miles better than today. We knew the circumstances when we arrived here, so we knew how the game would happen,” Guardiola said of the win. “We were so lucky that the pitch was so dry and, because with the chances they had, on better pitch conditions they would have scored, we were incredibly fortunate for that.”

City have won five Premier League matches in a row and a further four victories would confirm a sixth title under Guardiola. “The players were really good but suffering,” Guardiola said. “The second half was much better; with the second goal we had the game in our hands before that it was so dangerous – in certain moments they were much better than us.”

Guardiola may have to do without his first-choice goalkeeper Ederson for their remaining fixtures after the Brazilian was forced off with a shoulder injury at half-time and left the ground with his arm in a sling. “It doesn’t look good,” Guardiola said. “We will see tomorrow with the doctor.”

Ederson was replaced by Stefan Ortega who has deputised on numerous occasions and did not put a foot wrong against Forest, making a fine save to prevent Callum Hudson-Odoi scoring from distance.

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The pressure was on City after Arsenal held on to win against Tottenham. The Gunners took a three-goal lead at Tottenham but were made to battle to secure the victory as Cristian Romero and Son Heung-min reduced the deficit to create a nervous finale for Arsenal, who held on for what could prove a crucial win.

“Yeah, 100%,” Mikel Arteta said when asked if he could see a battling spirit within the Arsenal squad. “I’ve seen that the whole season. They give me the reason to believe that every single day. We are right on it. The motivation for what is ahead is beautiful. We are all expecting that they’re going to have a real go.”

City have home games against Wolves and West Ham, with trips to Fulham and Tottenham in between remaining. Arsenal face Bournemouth, Manchester United and Everton, meaning both clubs in the title race will be hoping for a favour from their nearest geographical rivals.


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