Published On: Tue, Jan 2nd, 2024
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta knows it may be over as Guardiola repeats trick and books trip | Football | Sport


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may well know his team’s quest to win their first Premier League title in two decades could be over already following their dismal run over the festive period. The Gunners have taken just four points from their last five matches and have fallen to fourth in the table. And reigning champions Manchester City, who got the better of a title battle with Arsenal last season, could be set to turn it on and leave the Gunners in their wake thanks to a Pep Guardiola trick.

Arsenal appeared to be heading towards Premier League silverware last term as they stormed to the top of the table after racking up a string of victories. In January they were eight points ahead of City as Arteta had them playing scintillating football.

But City were fresh off the back of a winter training camp in Abu Dhabi and went on a run that saw them win 13 times in 15 matches between February and May. And Guardiola is set to repeat the trick later this month, with City having a two week break after they travel to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle in the Premier League in mid-January.

“Last season we were there during the World Cup, incredible impact for the staff and everyone,” Guardiola explained at the weekend as he discussed this season’s Abu Dhabi plans. “The five titles prove it. We go there to train, better weather, be together, training to prepare for the second part of the season.”

This campaign’s title race has been blown wide open following the Christmas period. Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Newcastle on Monday night, Jurgen Klopp’s side topped the table on goal difference ahead of Aston Villa, with City and Arsenal both two points adrift of the leaders. And Tottenham are only one point outside of the top four.

Arsenal were in pole position in the Premier League in early December but have since suffered defeats at the hands of Aston Villa, West Ham and Fulham. The Citizens, on the other hand, have won three of their last four matches, despite having their league season disrupted by the Club World Cup.

“It was a painful defeat and a really sad day,” Arteta explained following his side’s defeat to Fulham on Sunday. “Today we had a chance to be top of the league after 20 games, and that tells you the consistency and the quality that we have shown in the first half of the season.

“But the reality is that today we are in pain because we have lost a game playing in a way we don’t want to. We have to reset and take that defeat away with us. It will be painful for a few days, but we have to move on.”



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