Premier League English

‘It’s not in our hands’ – Pep Guardiola names the favorites for Premier League title after weekend’s turn of events

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has named Liverpool the favorites to win the Premier League after his side were held to a goalless home draw by a resilient Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta.

Liverpool had come from behind earlier in the day to beat Brighton 2-1, with Jurgen Klopp’s side topping the table by two points from the Gunners with City in third, three points from the peak of the table.

Guardiola and his erstwhile reigning champions have been consistent the last few campaigns in putting together long winning runs late in the season to overhaul rivals in the race to finish top, but the Catalan has been candid in conceding that this year’s title race was not in their hands.

“Always who is first is favorite,” Guardiola said when asked if Liverpool were “clear favorites” to win the league.

“The second favorite is Arsenal and we are third…It’s not in our hands. All we can do is think of Aston Villa (at home on Wednesday). Always when we were top of the league, we were favorites. It was in our hands. Now it’s not. It’s simple.”

City and Arsenal were oth tenaciously engaged in a tightly-fought match at the Etihad, with Guardiola’s men failing to score at home for the first time in 58 matches across all competitions.

It was only last April that Arsenal lost 4-1 at the Etihad as City overhauled Mikel Arteta’s side on their way to the treble. However this time there was no repeat as Arsenal’s eight-game losing streak at the Etihad came to an end.

“I think the context and the way we arrived here 11 months ago was different, but the difficulty remains the same,” Arsenal boss Arteta said.

“They are the best team in the world, in my opinion, by far. They have the best manager in the world by far. To catch up and try to better than them is the challenge ahead of us…

“I don’t know (if the draw is good for the title race). You want to win the game. You prepare to win it. If you cannot win it, make sure you draw it. We did that.

“Eleven months ago, we were here and the story was very different. You have to make steps as a team and today we’ve done that. We still have many more to come…

“(It says) that we are improving and competing better and understand how you have to play these games but there is another step to make to win the championship. You have to come here and win.”

Asked how to break down Arsenal’s impressive low block, Guardiola joked: “Kill someone”.

“I recognise my team, the proposals and how we pressed high,” he said. “We’ve played against a low block sometimes and Arsenal are exceptional. Well managed and the players are really good.

“You have to knock on the door of another manager and see if he can do it. As a team we’re still there. We could have more in some aspects but I’m satisfied. I told the team don’t be sad. You give credit to Arsenal for the things they do.”