Manchester City vs Arsenal: Pep Guardiola admits he feared title race had been lost

Manchester City closed the gap to just two points thanks to Sergio Aguero's sublime hat-trick

Tom Kershaw@trlkershaw
Sunday 03 February 2019 21:06
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Pep Guardiola admitted he feared Manchester City had lost the title race after their shock defeat by Newcastle last week left Liverpool with the opportunity to go seven points clear.

City outclassed Arsenal 3-1 at the Etihad on Sunday, thanks to Sergio Aguero's sublime hat-trick, and are now just two points adrift of Jurgen Klopp’s side at the top of the table.

Aguero opened the scoring for City within the first minute of the match, before Laurent Koscielny bundled home for the Gunners from a corner against the run of play.

But Unai Emery’s side never settled into the game and Aguero capitalised on more sloppy defending either side of the half-time whistle to secure a vital three points in their title defence.

Liverpool, who stuttered to a draw against Leicester last week, can return the margin to five with a win at West Ham on Monday evening.

“I thought everybody had lost the title after that [loss at Newcastle]. In that moment, seven points would have been difficult,” Guardiola said. “But football is unpredictable.”

“I’m not in Jurgen’s mind, I don’t know about Liverpool, we have to be ourselves. All we can do is win the next game.”

Guardiola reserved special praise for the work ethic of matchwinner Sergio Aguero and insisted the pair had always had a good relationship despite reports of an indifference.

Sergio Aguero laid waste to Arsenal’s misshapen defence

“People in the first year said I’m not friends with Sergio - sometimes I played Gabriel [Jesus] or Raz [Raheem Sterling] as a striker, they were my decisions - but I was always delighted [with Sergio].

“Today, it wasn’t just that he scored three goals but for how he tried, fought, and worked backwards. He gave absolutely everything for the team.

“I judge the intentions, not the results and the intentions from Sergio was always perfect since we were together.”

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