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Pep Guardiola: Manchester City boss says side must be ‘almost perfect’ in title race

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are chasing a third consecutive Premier League title this season

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will have to be “almost perfect” to catch Premier League leaders Arsenal in the title race.

City can reduce the gap to five points with victory over Chelsea on Thursday after Arsenal were held by Newcastle.

Guardiola said: “The way to reduce the gap is playing good and winning games.

“They (Arsenal) are going to do 100 or more points the way they have gone so far. If they continue this way, we will not catch them.”

City are second in the table, eight points behind Arsenal with a game in hand.

Speaking before the trip to Stamford Bridge, Guardiola added: “We have to be almost perfect I would say, from here to the end of the season – and hope they drop a little bit in their performance, because yesterday [against Newcastle] they were excellent.

“We will see what happens.”

Chelsea are 10th in the table having won just one of their last seven Premier League games, but Guardiola expects a difficult night for his side.

It is the first of two meetings with Graham Potter’s side as an FA Cup third-round tie at the Etihad follows on Sunday.

Guardiola said: “It’s a tough game, [against] a tough side, well managed. Stamford Bridge – what can I say? It doesn’t matter what position you are when you travel there, it’s always difficult.

“But, at the same time, we are looking forward to this week, and these next two weeks, for the different competitions and especially the Premier League.”

Over the next month, City visit Southampton in a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie, and face a Manchester derby at fourth-placed United and two league games with Tottenham.

Guardiola also confirmed defender Ruben Dias would miss the game against Chelsea, but said 18-year-old Rico Lewis had played “beyond my expectations” at right-back.

“What he’s done in the last three games against top sides, under big pressure, how good he played, was beyond my expectations,” added Guardiola.

“When we review the games, everything is well done.

“He is such an intelligent player and can play in different positions. We are delighted the academy has produced another top player and we hope he can stay for a long time.”

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