Liverpool and Chelsea are still title contenders, says Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola refused to write off the title credentials of Chelsea and Liverpool, despite his Manchester City team extending their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League.
City’s 1-0 win at Brentford, courtesy of an early Phil Foden winner, took full advantage of Liverpool’s loss at Leicester on Tuesday and Brighton snatching a late point at Chelsea in Wednesday’slast night’s earlier match.
“There are many games to go,” said Guardiola, whose City team appear on course for a fourth title in five seasons. “We are eight points in front but there are 54 still to play for and many tough games still to play.
“I’m not going to believe anyone who says it’s already done. The teams we have with Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional. One is a European champion and Liverpool have been our big rival in the last three or four years.”
Foden’s winner in a tight match at the Community Stadium made it 10 successive Premier League wins, a pace City’s chasers have struggled to cope with.
“We have the distance not because they dropped points but because we won 10 in a row. But there are 54 points still to play for,” Guardiola said.
The restoration of Foden and Jack Grealish to the starting lineup after some pre-Christmas hijinks were punished had the desired effect, at least for Foden. Playing as a false nine he had the ball in the net again in the second half, only to fall foul of VAR.
“Phil has always been outstanding,” said Guardiola. “He’s a guy who can play in different positions at an exceptional level. We had no doubts about that. Did he have anything to prove? Absolutely not.”
This season at Brentford, Arsenal have lost, Liverpool could only draw 3-3 and Chelsea been given a scare by Thomas Frank’s battling team, and Guardiola was relieved to escape with three points ahead of Saturday’s visit to fourth-placed Arsenal.
“Just look at the results Brentford have done this season. It has been so tight. They are exceptional at what they do and that’s why the game we played was perfect today,” added Guardiola.
City, who play Arsenal next, have another quick turnaround after two games in three days over the Christmas period. “We come back to Manchester tonight, arrive late, recover as much as possible because at 12.30 on 1 January we have another game,” Guardiola said.