Arsenal could reach 100 points, says Guardiola | Football News – Times of India

MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned that Arsenal will be tough to catch in the Premier League title race and that 100 points could be required to retain their crown.
Arsenal, managed by Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta, could have moved 10 points clear of the champions on Tuesday but drew 0-0 at home to Newcastle United.
City, who were held by Everton on New Year’s Eve, can close the gap to five if they win at Chelsea on Thursday and Guardiola says his side can ill-afford many more slip-ups if they are to claim a fifth title in six years.
“The way you have to reduce the gap is play good and win games,” Guardiola told a news conference on Wednesday.
“It’s not for the fact. (Arsenal) have an average that they will do more than 100 points the way they have done so far.
“If they continue in that way, we will not catch them. We have to be almost perfect from here and hope they drop their performance — yesterday they were excellent against Newcastle — and see what happens.”
Arsenal, bidding for a first title since 2004, sit top with 44 points from 17 games played with City 36 from 16 — two points less than at the same stage last season.
Most people would have expected Chelsea to be part of the title race, but City visit Stamford Bridge with Graham Potter’s side languishing in the 10th place in the standings.
Guardiola, however, is expecting as tough a battle as usual.
Asked for his thoughts on Chelsea’s struggles, the Spaniard said: “It’s the Premier League, everyone is tough. That’s why the predictions at the start of the season always my answer is I don’t know. Nobody knows.
“We will see what happens, after the World Cup many things are going to happen. It doesn’t matter the position you are when you travel (to Chelsea), it’s always difficult.”
Guardiola said he will decide late on whether defender Aymeric Laporte will be able to face Chelsea but central defender Ruben Dias will not be available.
“Ruben is out. Aymer (Laporte), we will see today at the training session,” Guardiola said.

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