Sunday, April 18, 2021

Guardiola´s City must win Champions League to be considered Premier League´s best ever – Arteta

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Mar 2021

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will not be considered the Premier League’s best-ever team until they complete a clean sweep of trophies including the Champions League, according to Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta.

City equalled their club record unbeaten run of 28 matches when they beat Wolves 4-1 on Tuesday, which was also their 21st successive win across all competitions.

This remarkable form has seen them open up a gaping 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, whom they play this weekend – though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men can reduce that slightly when they play Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, City are romping clear and only a monumental collapse will prevent them from retaking the crown from Liverpool, with Stats Perform’s AI team giving Guardiola’s men a 99.9 per cent likelihood of eventually being champions ahead of win over Wolves.

But as the latter stages of the season approaches, debates – as they often do – have started to turn towards comparisons with other great Premier League teams. Alex Ferguson’s treble-winning United team of 1998-99 and Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal ‘Invincibles’, who went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten, are generally held up as standard-bearers.

Current Gunners boss Arteta, a former assistant to Guardiola at City prior to taking up his post at the Emirates Stadium, thinks the runaway leaders still have work to do to be mentioned in the same breath.

“With the maturity that they’ve shown and the way the team has evolved in recent years, I would say that in this moment it’s the best,” Arteta told reporters on Wednesday.

“To say they’re the best ever means they have to win everything like that team did a few years ago when they won the four domestic competitions [City’s 2018-19 domestic treble, plus that season’s Community Shield].

“If you add to that the Champions League, then there is no question because nobody’s done it.”

When it was put to Arteta if City had already eclipsed the ‘Invincibles’, Arteta stressed he saw no value in making such comparisons but went on to applaud City for the consistency they have found, with Guardiola’s men just one of three teams from Europe’s big five leagues to win more than 20 consecutive games.

“I don’t think we need to compare. I think what City’s doing under Pep is phenomenal, not just this season but every season they’ve been together,” he said.

“To sustain that level of perfection, to sustain that hunger and the way they play football is a joy to watch. We have to be grateful that in this country we have the joy of experiencing something like that.

“It’s not about the way they play, it’s the character that the team shows, the spirit it shows, the hunger – and not just with the ball.

“The best example is that these players, with the ability they have, chase the ball down when they lose it. That’s remarkable and Pep has done that at every club.”

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