Title Talk: Guardiola has message for rivals
It has become a familiar sight seeing Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. After twelve matches, City are in familiar territory. Top of the table, unbeaten. Yet fans with Manchester City tickets will be first to agree that this season’s title race could go to the wire.
Pep Guardiola and his players gave themselves a hard act to follow last season. 100 points obtained and a 19-point lead over their closest challengers. The Premier League table indicates they remain on course to be champions once more, but not without a fight.
Guardiola believes that the games between the top side will ultimately determine who wins the title this season. Liverpool and Chelsea currently occupy second and third in the Premier League table and are both yet to lose a game this season in what looks like being one of the most exciting title races.
It is worth remembering that in the twelve games so far, City have already beaten Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United, in addition to drawing at Anfield. Guardiola is in pole position.
It looks likely to be one of the tightest title races in years, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all making strong starts to the season and each of them looking much improved on last year.
Guardiola told the club website: "When you play against the contenders it’s almost six points, isn’t it? I don’t know what’s happened in the past but it’s true that the strong teams are making a lot of points, they are not dropping points easily.
"That’s why maybe the games against the contenders are becoming so important. We’ve started with three games away against them.
"That’s why it is so important to take those points. But nothing is going to change.”
If City can finish top of the table again, they will become the first side in a decade to win back-to-back Premier League titles. Not since Alex Ferguson's 2008-09 Manchester United team has an English side managed to retain the Premier League.
Apart from their visit to Stamford Bridge, City have a relatively comfortable-looking run to the end of 2018 in the Premier League. However, it is never that simple with plenty of twists and turns around the corner.
Fans searching for Manchester City tickets before the end of the year can choose from three games at the Etihad against Bournemouth, Everton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, with a Champions League tie against Lyon and a Carabao Cup Quarter-Final tie. City look well set to qualify out of their Champions League group, needing just one point from their remaining two games against Hoffenheim and Lyon with Champions League tickets still available.
Guardiola is under no illusions about the size of the task he faces knowing the jaws of the chasing pack wait be waiting in anticipation at the prospect of dropped points.