Guardiola eager for Manchester City to win against Chelsea to clinch title


Pep Guardiola manager of Manchester City applauds Erling Haaland during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Manchester City FC and Real Madrid at Etihad Stadium on May 17, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Pep Guardiola said he wants Manchester City to have to win against Chelsea on Sunday to secure the Premier League title rather than having it handed to them by Arsenal losing at Nottingham Forest the day before.

City need a maximum of one victory from their final three matches – they also have trips to Brighton and Brentford – to secure a fifth title in the past six years under Guardiola. Sealing first place would be a fine way to end the week for Guardiola and City after reaching the Champions League final with a dominant 4-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday.

“It’s non-stop,” Guardiola said. “Of course we are satisfied to play the Champions League final but now is the most difficult thing. Tennis players say the serve to win Wimbledon is the most difficult one. On Sunday the game is in our hands to win the most important competition. The Premier League is the most important because it’s 10, 11 months. We’re lucky to have the chance to finish at home with our people. We have to take it.”

Guardiola said he would be preparing for Sunday’s match rather than watching the action at the City Ground. “I’d like to feel we have to win to be champions. We cannot control Nottingham. [It] doesn’t matter what happens in Nottingham – we have to do our job.”

Only Sir Alex Ferguson, George Ramsay and Bob Paisley have won more than five top-flight titles in England, and a fifth would put Guardiola alongside Sir Matt Busby and Tom Watson. The league title would be the first pillar in a potential treble for City, with the FA Cup and Champions League finals to come.

“We cannot be distracted,” Guardiola said. “We will not forgive ourselves if we are distracted by something. It is not what we have to do. Focus on every single game that we have until the end of the season to try to finish well.”

City and the Premier League declined to comment on reports that the club have challenged disciplinary proceedings which saw them charged with more than 115 breaches of Premier League rules.

According to the Times, City have challenged the league over a number of charges, claiming they had been brought over events that predated the rules City were alleged to have broken. City were also reported to have questioned the suitability of the head of the Premier League’s independent judicial panel, having identified that he is an Arsenal season-ticket holder. 

City’s lead counsel, the KC Lord David Pannick, is also an Arsenal fan. Sources close to the Premier League have observed that the public statement concerning City’s alleged breaches stated that they were being charged according to “rules applicable in those seasons”.

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