Man City's demanding schedule can be advantage in Premier League title race – Guardiola

By Sports Desk April 14, 2023

Pep Guardiola believes a demanding schedule can help Manchester City in the Premier League title race but one defeat will end their quest to be champions.

Guardiola's side will be three points behind leaders Arsenal with a game in hand if they beat relegation-threatened Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Free-scoring City extended their winning run to nine matches by beating Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

City travel to face Bayern in the second leg next week before taking on Sheffield United in an FA Cup semi-final, followed by their game in hand against Brighton and Hove Albion before a potential title decider at home to the Gunners.

Arsenal can focus solely on the battle to win the Premier League, but City boss Guardiola thinks playing so many games can work in his side's favour.

Asked if the Gunners only being in the hunt for the Premier League title gives them an edge, the Spaniard said: "Honestly, I don't know. Sometimes when we play games every few days we are in rhythm, and that helps our focus. Sometimes when we've played one game, we've lost focus.

"When you play Saturday and then Tuesday or Wednesday, the mind of the players is [focused on football]. One game a week, you have two days off, you have to come back, get it back, you lose the feeling. The players do everything to keep going."

Guardiola also stressed that City's game in hand is by no means a banker.

He added: "The reality is we are six points behind no guarantee we will win the games in hand. The best team in world for build-up, the best team is Brighton, there is no better team in bringing it from the keeper to the last quarter. No team is better right now.

"Arsenal is at home but there is no guarantee. The reality in the table is that we are six points behind. We need to win our games, that is the reality. At the end of the games, that is when we will see the reality and the reality is that we are six points behind."

Leicester this week appointed Dean Smith as manager until the end of the season after sacking Brendan Rodgers, with the Foxes languishing in the relegation zone.

Guardiola warned the champions have no margin for error and does not feel their previous success gives them the upper hand over Arsenal.

"If we lose games, we lose competitions. It is the same tomorrow. If we lose we will not be champion, if we win we can still be there," he said. 

"We are six points behind Arsenal; a team that plays one game a week and loses very few points. They have time to analyse games and recover; it is difficult to drop points.

"We have to be there as much as possible.

"Everybody knows that if we lose it is over. That is the best way to compete. In every football action, the players are feeling that they have to win a due or win an action because if not they will lose.

"That is where you have the best [opportunity]. I have doubts about whether experience counts a lot for next time."

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