Pep Guardiola has told Arsenal they will need to fight to take the Premier League title from Manchester City ahead of their showdown on Wednesday night.
Manchester City take on Arsenal at the Emirates in a blockbuster Premier League encounter that could hand the victor a huge psychological advantage in the title race.
A victory for Manchester City would take them top of the table on goal difference, although the Gunners would have a game in hand.
Guardiola challenges Arsenal to fight for title
Guardiola, speaking ahead of the game, responded to a question about who the more motivated team would be.
“The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are,” Guardiola said.
“If they beat us because they are better then this is sport, I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there.
“You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands. We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like. To fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. If we don’t, accept it. But we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.”
City have struggled by their own standards since the league resumed and questions have been asked of team harmony and Guardiola’s man management.
Joao Cancelo left in the January window to join Bayern Munich after reports of a falling out with the manager and a few other important players have seen their involvement limited in recent weeks.
There has also been a system change, with the Spaniard now adopting a 3-2-4-1 formation and critics believe this change has made City more vulnerable defensively.
The motivation for both teams remains a title win. Arsenal have not won the league since 2004 and Manchester City will be aiming to be the first side since Alex Ferguson’s Man United side in 2009 to win the Premier League three times in a row.
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