Pep Guardiola readies Man City for another nerve-shredding Premier League finale

City will secure an unprecedented fourth-successive Premier League crown if they beat West Ham on Sunday.

Andy Hampson
Friday 17 May 2024 21:07 BST
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City need to beat West Ham in their final game at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City need to beat West Ham in their final game at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Pep Guardiola is preparing his Manchester City players for another nerve-shredding finish to the title race.

The champions will secure an unprecedented fourth-successive Premier League crown – and a sixth in seven seasons – if they beat West Ham in their final game at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Yet any slip-up would offer Arsenal the chance to seize top spot at the last moment, as the Gunners head into their clash with Everton, trailing by just two points.

Such finishes are hardly unfamiliar to City. Guardiola remembers well how his side needed to recover from 2-0 down against Aston Villa to see off Liverpool’s challenge on the closing day two years ago.

Then, of course, there was City’s dramatic last-gasp success in 2012, when Sergio Aguero scored deep into injury time to snatch the title from Manchester United.

City manager Guardiola said: “If you ask all the Premier League teams at the start of the season, what would be the best position for the last game of the season – we are in the best position. That’s for sure.

“One game left, destiny in our hands, we need to win one game to be champions. Everyone would love to be in our position.

It's win or win, otherwise Arsenal will be champions

Pep Guardiola

“But it won’t be easy. It’s win or win, otherwise Arsenal will be champions. It is not more complicated than that.

“I have the feeling it will be an Aston Villa game. We would love to be 3-0 up after 10 minutes – but it isn’t going to happen.

“We’ve seen enough West Ham games (to know) they have a few things we have to control.

“They will be ready to beat us. That happened with Aston Villa – they didn’t play for anything – in the same position, two years ago.

“I know what happened, it’s going to happen the same. Ourselves and our people have to come here to be ready from the first minute, to do it together.”

City put themselves in position to defend their crown as they overcame Tottenham in a hard-fought contest in midweek to move back above Arsenal at the top.

Guardiola, who is without first-choice goalkeeper Ederson but hopes Kevin De Bruyne will recover from a blow to the ankle, now has a plan to rouse his players for the final challenge.

He said: “I saw perfectly the reaction in the locker room at Spurs away a few days ago. They were relieved, they were ‘wow’, but they were not extra celebrations or something like that.

“They were happy but incredibly calm, it was nothing more special than another game in the Premier League.

“They know there is still a lot of work to do. And today, they will feel it. What I’m going to show them, they will feel there is a lot of work to do.”

Asked for further details, Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference: “It is something that belongs to us.

“I’m going to show them how good they are and what they have to do. As simple as that. It’s nothing special.”

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