Pep Guardiola expects Tottenham to come at his Manchester City side at full throttle this weekend.

Spurs caught the eye playing dynamic and attacking football in a strong start to the Premier League season under new manager Ange Postecoglou.

The Londoners have come unstuck in recent weeks, losing their last three games and suffering injuries to key players, but their Australian manager has determinedly stuck to his principles.

“He’s been there from day one, from the first game of the Premier League,” said City boss Guardiola, whose treble winners host Spurs at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

“I have the feeling it doesn’t matter the result, it doesn’t matter the opponent, home or away – they do what they have to do.

“I like that. I think that is so incredible an advert for our game, for our sport. When two teams (decide it) doesn’t matter what happens, I do my game, I go forward, there are always nice things to watch, all the time.

“It’s impossible you don’t see an interesting game where both teams want to try to do it.”

City midfielder Mateo Kovacic is back in contention after injury and John Stones, and unused substitute for the last games, is also close to returning to action.

Kyle Walker, who has taken over the City captaincy so far this season with Kevin De Bruyne out injured, will face his old club.

“I’m really, really pleased about what he’s doing,” said Guardiola of the 33-year-old right-back.

“He’s the same guy who was involved before, when he wasn’t captain, but now the players decided to pick him, so he now has a little more responsibility.

“When there’s some problems in the locker room or whatever, captains tend to solve it.”

Jan Vertonghen does not believe there will be two players who dominate the Ballon d'Or during the next decade in the way Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have done.

Messi scooped his record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or on Monday in Paris.

The 36-year-old led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last year, and also enjoyed a fine individual season with Paris Saint-Germain.

This Ballon d'Or will almost certainly be Messi's last. Since 2008, he or Ronaldo have won every edition of the award bar two, with Luka Modric taking it in 2018 and Karim Benzema in 2022.

Messi finished ahead of Erling Haaland – who scored 52 goals in his first season at Manchester City – and his former club-mate Kylian Mbappe, who played a direct part in 50 goals in all competitions for PSG and was the World Cup's leading scorer.

While Haaland and Mbappe have been tipped to fight it out for the award over the next decade, former Tottenham and Ajax defender Vertonghen thinks the days of two players dominating are over.

"I don't think it's going to be two guys dominating for the next 15 years," Vertonghen, an Athlete Partner for APEX, told Stats Perform.

"There are a lot of massive talents. Obviously, you've got Haaland and Mbappe already there for a couple of years, but then if you look at [Jude] Bellingham, what he's doing now, [Jamal] Musiala, I love him, Phil Foden, Vinicius [Junior].

"Those are the young guys. I hope one day a defender or even a goalkeeper [can win]. Thibaut Courtois was very close the year [Real Madrid] won the Champions League.

"I'm probably forgetting 10 or 15 more names. With Belgium, we have a great couple of young guys. There's so many, and I hope one day it could go to a Belgian one."

Bellingham enjoyed a strong season with Borussia Dortmund, though has taken his play up to an elite level since his move to Real Madrid.

The England midfielder finished 18th in the overall voting, with Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala coming in 26th, 20 places behind Vinicius.

Kevin De Bruyne came fourth in the vote, and Vertonghen enthused over his compatriot's quality.

"Kevin, his passing ability is the one that stands out - you know that he is known for his assists and his vision, but he understands the game so well," he said.

"He knows how to use the space, where to run, he is very, very good in pressing which is something you don't really think of when you think of him, you think of assists, vision, scoring goals, but the way he is able to understand how a team builds up, he's just a genius of the pitch.

"Whenever I played against him with Tottenham, we would always try to build up on the other side because he's the one that will get the team going."

Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City must adapt to the artificial surface they face in Switzerland this week – but claims “common sense” dictates grass is better.

The holders will play on unfamiliar terrain in their latest Champions League outing on Wednesday when they take on Young Boys on their synthetic pitch at the Wankdorf Stadium.

Guardiola insists there are no complaints on his part, and he has changed his team’s routine to ensure they are prepared.

Normally City do not take up the option available to them of training at the stadium when they play away games in Europe, instead preferring to work in Manchester before travelling.

However, on this occasion City flew to Bern on Tuesday morning and had a run out on the pitch in the evening.

Yet the City manager could not hide the feeling that he would prefer to be playing on a natural surface.

Speaking at a press conference, the Spaniard said: “It is what it is. If UEFA allows games to be played here it’s because it’s in good conditions.

“That’s one of the reasons we never train away but this is an exception. This is why we travel in the morning for the players to feel how the ball runs, how to move left, right, backwards, forwards. That’s why.

“We’ll try it and the players will know it immediately.”

Asked if he was concerned about injuries, Guardiola said: “I don’t know – hopefully not, for both sides, but I don’t know.

“We are not used to it. Any team that plays here is not used to it. It suits the Swiss league and, in the Champions League, the teams that come here have to adapt.

“We will not be the first in this situation. We have to use it as a benefit but the grass is better.”

Asked why, Guardiola said: “Because 99.9 per cent of the teams who play in a high level play on grass, otherwise UEFA and FIFA would decide to play on artificial pitches. It’s common sense, I would say.”

City go into their third match in Group G looking to maintain their 100 per cent record after victories over Red Star Belgrade and RB Leipzig.

Victory in their back-to-back games against Young Boys, who travel to the Etihad Stadium next month, could see City qualify for the knockout stages with two matches to spare.

City have no fresh injury concerns, with long-term casualty Kevin De Bruyne their only notable absentee.

Guardiola also played down concerns about the form of Jack Grealish, who is taking time to get back to his best after a month out with a dead leg.

The City boss said: “I don’t have one doubt about Jack and his quality and what he has done for us since he arrived, especially last season. I’m calm and confident. He is an incredibly important player for us.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola doubts Sunday’s visit to Arsenal will have a significant impact on who wins the Premier League this season.

Arsenal flourished under former City assistant Mikel Arteta last season but settled up for a runners-up spot as Guardiola’s side claimed a third successive top-flight triumph en route to a historic treble.

The Gunners are unbeaten after seven matches of this campaign and lie one point behind City, who are bidding to bounce back from last weekend’s surprise 2-1 defeat at Wolves.

Guardiola, though, insisted this showdown being so early in the season places less of an emphasis on the title race, even if he regards Arsenal as one of their main rivals.

He said: “This will not define a lot. It will be different when they come here at the Etihad (at the end of March) – then it will depend on the situations we are in.”

Instead Guardiola’s main focus in the weeks ahead is on guaranteeing progression from their Champions League group, having started the defence of their crown with wins over Red Star Belgrade and Leipzig.

He said: “We know where we came from with the treble. After that the tendency is to go down. We can play better or worse but in general in the training sessions the focus is there.

“We made an incredible step forward in the Champions League. In this month, the Champions League is the most important thing by far, until February when it starts again.

“What I want is to arrive here in February when we start the Champions League to be in the competitions and that it’s close. To be close to the top of the league and keep the distance short and make the last 10 games in our competition ‘let’s do it again’.

“(If you qualify for the Champions League knockout stages) you can focus on the Premier League until it is back again. We made a big step on Wednesday (by beating Leipzig), now we have Arsenal.”

Guardiola will be without Rodri this weekend as the midfielder serves the final game of a three-match domestic suspension while John Stones and Kevin de Bruyne remain on the sidelines.

De Bruyne is a long-term absentee after undergoing hamstring surgery but his absence has not unduly troubled City, who have found the back of the net at least once in every league game this season.

Guardiola said: “Since I arrived we scored a lot of goals, a lot. We have this ability with proper strikers, false nines, wingers, different pressing, different build ups. I am delighted with everyone.”

If City lose at the Emirates Stadium, it would mark the first time they have been beaten in successive league games since December 2018.

Asked to pinpoint why they have been so successful in bouncing straight back from a defeat, Guardiola added: “It shows what we have done. It is the exception – what we have done is incredible.”

Kyle Walker will continue wearing the Manchester City captain’s armband for now – but has refused to reveal who the long-term skipper will be.

The England right-back has led City so far this term after previous incumbent Ilkay Gundogan left the club following last season’s treble success.

As in previous campaigns, the squad have held a vote to determine the make-up of the players’ leadership group, from which a senior figure usually emerges as captain.

Walker has revealed that this season the group comprises of himself, Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Rodri and Bernardo Silva but has given no further information.

That could suggest De Bruyne, who is currently sidelined through injury, is the player who will ultimately take up the mantle but Walker insists it does not matter who it is.

“There is a captain but I just feel out of respect to everyone that’s involved in it, there’s no numbers,” said the England international.

“We’re a team and we (the leadership group) are a team inside a team, and whoever wears the armband or has the armband on the day, is going to wear the armband until the time is right, until certain members in that captaincy group feel it’s right to announce the number or the order.

“That’s what we’ll do but, until then, I’m wearing the armband because I was the third captain last season and I’ll continue to wear it for the rest of the season until the time’s right.

“I don’t even think it’s really necessary. We’re a team inside a team.”

City, after winning their opening five Premier League games, continued their strong start to the season with a comfortable 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Walker feels City are constantly evolving as manager Pep Guardiola bids to keep his side ahead of their rivals.

He said: “I think that’s Pep being Pep. I think teams work us out, teams find the strategy of how they feel that they’re going to play or defend against us.

“When we can build up in different ways, I think that puts another tool in our toolbox where we can change it mid-game and it seems to be working for us.

“He’s got the key ingredient. He knows when’s right to let certain players go, bring players in, freshen things up here, give people challenges here and there.

“He’s got a fine balance and how to do it and it seems to work, not just here but at the number of teams that he’s been at because he’s been very successful.”

Julian Alvarez is revelling in his partnership with Erling Haaland in Manchester City’s attack.

The Argentinian World Cup winner continued his strong start to the season with two goals as the holders began their Champions League title defence with a comfortable 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

An injury for Kevin De Bruyne has seen Alvarez handed a run of games in support of prolific centre forward Haaland and it is a role he is relishing.

“I am very happy with the goals, to help the team,” the 23-year-old said. “We are doing well, we are winning – which is the most important thing – and playing good games.

“I am trying to adapt and I continue growing in this position, where I am moving freely, to give the team another option and add to the attack.”

Alavarez was the dominant figure in City’s forward line as they threatened to overwhelm Red Star in their opening Group G game at the Etihad Stadium.

Yet despite creating a plethora of chances – with Haaland hitting the bar and goalkeeper Omri Glazer making several saves – City fell behind to an Osman Bukari strike just before half-time.

Alvarez began the fightback with a fine dinked finish after the restart and then put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead when his free-kick was inadvertently punched into the goal by Glazer.

Rodri wrapped up a thoroughly deserved victory with a typically composed finish 17 minutes from time but, again, City could have had several more. Haaland went the closest when he hit the goal frame for a second time.

“We played a good game,” said Alvarez. “It was important to start with a win and three points at home in this difficult competition. We are very happy.

“We had many chances we could not convert but Pep told us to keep doing what we were doing and the goals would come.

“It was the same in the previous game where we were losing and came back, so it was fine. We always try to stay calm, play well in the second half and win.”

Alvarez was not a regular starter last season, despite his starring role in his country’s World Cup triumph, but Guardiola believes he can do an important job in easing the goalscoring burden on Haaland.

Guardiola said: “It’s the same player as last season but being a World Cup winner doesn’t mean you have to play all the time.

“Last season we had Kevin and (Ilkay) Gundogan in that position. Kevin was in top form and Gundo was incredible.

“In that moment sometimes it was difficult to find spaces but I never had a doubt.

“Now Gundo has gone and Kevin unfortunately is injured. We need players to be close to Erling, don’t put all the responsibilities just on the shoulders of Erling to score all the goals.

“That’s why when Phil (Foden) has played there, when Julian plays there, we have the feeling that we create a lot of chances.”

Manchester City signed Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg, on this day in 2015.

City paid a then club-record fee, reported to be in the region of £54million, for a man who has been at the heart of what they have achieved since.

The 24-year-old, who arrived in the Premier League as Germany’s footballer of the year, signed an initial six-year contract to launch the latest, spectacularly-successful phase of his career.

Born in the Drongen district of Ghent, De Bruyne began his professional career at Genk and was a Belgian title-winner in 2010-11, prompting Chelsea to invest £6.7million in his services in January 2012, although he remained at his first club for the remainder of that campaign before joining Werder Bremen on a season-long loan deal.

The midfield schemer finally made his Blues debut in a 2-0 Premier League victory over Hull in August 2013, providing the assist for Oscar’s opening goal in an impressive display.

However, that proved to be one of only nine senior appearances for the club and he was sold to Wolfsburg in the January of the following year.

Speaking shortly before his £18million departure for the Bundesliga, then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said: “We know that Kevin didn’t adapt very well to the difficult life a Chelsea player has.”

If English football had proved testing for the blossoming Belgian, he found his feet in style in Germany and returned to the Premier League as one of the most promising talents in the world game when he arrived at the Etihad Stadium.

He said at the time: “I just want to win. I won two cups at Wolfsburg and I just want to keep on winning and I think here’s a good chance to win some titles with a team who have a lot of quality players.”

That has proved something of an understatement.

Since making his City debut as a substitute in a 1-0 league win at Crystal Palace on September 12, 2015, De Bruyne has helped the club win the Champions League, five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the League Cup on five occasions.

Twice named PFA footballer of the year, he has also been capped 99 times and scored 26 goals for Belgium, whom he has represented at three World Cup finals tournaments.

What the papers say

The Daily Mirror reports Kevin de Bruyne is high on the list of targets Saudi Arabian clubs intend to pursue next year. The paper says Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal’s whopping £259million bid for Kylian Mbappe was a wake-up call for the Premier League, with some sides already resigned to losing some of their best players. De Bruyne’s former Manchester City team-mate Riyad Mahrez joined Al-Ahli this summer, joining a growing list of high-profile players making the switch.

Speaking of Kylian Mbappe, the Mirror also reports the 24-year-old would be prepared to spend a season in the Premier League on loan before securing his dream move to Real Madrid. The Paris St Germain and France forward’s representatives are believed to have held discreet discussions with a selection of Premier League club intermediaries – with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool rumoured to be interested in his signature.

Kasper Schmeichel is in line for a shock return to the Premier League. According to the Leicester Mercury, citing Eurosport Denmark, the 36-year-old is in discussions with Nottingham Forest over a move from French club Nice.

And The Telegraph reports Chelsea are gearing up to make an improved bid for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mohamed Salah: Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad are set to offer £51.8m for the Liverpool forward, reports Arabic publication Al Riyadiah.

Tosin Adarabioyo: The Sun says the Fulham defender has rejected a proposed Tottenham move in favour of a potential transfer to Monaco.

Kevin De Bruyne revealed he was carrying an injury throughout the closing stages of Manchester City’s glorious treble triumph.

De Bruyne was not on the field as City capped a stunning season by winning the Champions League on Saturday, having finally succumbed to a long-standing hamstring problem.

The inspirational Belgian playmaker was forced off after 35 minutes of a hard-fought final against Inter Milan in Istanbul, which City went on to win 1-0 with a 68th-minute strike from Rodri.

De Bruyne said: “I give everything for my team and the people in the club know that. I feel proud that I’ve been able to do what I did.

“It’s a shame that it went the way it did for me here, but we go away winning the Champions League so there’s nothing bad towards it.

“I felt all right this week, but I’ve been told for two months it was a risk – but, you know, you take it.

“I did what I had to do. Obviously I missed some games, but the games like Arsenal, Bayern (Munich) and (Real) Madrid I managed to do it.

“I had some personal things happen with my family on top of that and I managed that, but, here, the hamstring just snapped.”

It was the second time De Bruyne had been forced off in a Champions League final after he suffered a bad facial injury in the loss to Chelsea two years ago.

Yet, after City came through, he did not want to dwell on his personal misfortune.

“I don’t look at football that way,” he said. “It is what it is.

“I felt the team was able to manage it and do their job. OK, the injury is never nice, but I was there for my team and did what I needed to do.

“I felt OK in the 35 minutes I played and I can’t expect more from myself.”

Victory fulfilled a long-held ambition for De Bruyne after enjoying considerable domestic success in his eight years at City.

He said: “I’ve basically been fighting all my career with my team to win this medal.

“I still don’t think it defines my career – I know who I am as a football player and person and I am happy and proud of the person I am – but obviously you want to win.”

Much has been made of what the victory could mean for City, both as a platform for the current team and for the status of the club as whole, but De Bruyne feels that is a matter for another day.

He said: “That’s not something I’m really thinking about right now. The season is so long we should just enjoy this moment.

“We’ve had subdued parties up until now, but now we can really enjoy it for a couple of days, as we should.

“We’ve not lost one game in the Champions League this season so I think we deserve it.”

Kevin De Bruyne insisted there would be no complacency as Manchester City prepare for Saturday’s Champions League final against Inter Milan.

City are the overwhelming favourites as they look to win the competition for the first time – and complete the treble – in Istanbul.

Inter finished 18 points behind champions Napoli in Serie A this season but De Bruyne is wary of the threat of Simone Inzaghi’s side.

The Belgium playmaker said: “You don’t get to the final of the Champions League without being top.

“I think they won the (cup) double in Italy. They’ve been winning basically every game at the end of the season.

“They have their system, they have their style, they do what they do really, really well and I don’t feel that anybody is going to think that it’s going to be an easy game against Inter. It’s a final so it starts 50-50.”

City have long coveted Champions League glory but endured a number of near misses in recent seasons, the closest being their runners-up finish to Chelsea in 2021.

Their frustrations contrast with their domestic success after, most notably, five Premier League title wins in the past six seasons.

Manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that City will need to transfer their home successes onto the European stage to be truly regarded among the great teams.

De Bruyne said: “I’ve been here eight years and it’s been incredible. Could I have come here and thought about the amount of games and trophies we would win in eight years? Probably not.

“In the end we have had a pretty impressive career at City, but it is something we have not won yet and it is something that we want to win. Hopefully it will be Saturday.

“We know how big the moment is but I feel the more relaxed you are as a team, and the team is doing pretty well with that at the moment, you get a better chance.”

De Bruyne has painful memories, literally, of that final loss to Chelsea two years ago after suffering a serious facial injury following a collision in the second half.

He said: “I don’t look at what happened two years ago with bad feelings. You go on, you move on. Ultimately, that’s football.

“Saturday is a great opportunity. It’s been an incredible year already. We can make it even better, but no matter what, it’s been great.”

Manchester City take on arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some key battles ahead of the Wembley encounter.

Pep Guardiola v Erik ten Hag

City manager Guardiola has again underlined his status as the best coach of his generation by guiding his side to a fifth Premier League title in six years and bringing them within two wins of a glorious treble. Ten Hag, who worked alongside the Catalan at Bayern Munich for a spell, cannot match Guardiola’s success but his record at Ajax was impressive and his first season with United has been encouraging, with one trophy and Champions League qualification secured. They have both beaten each other once this season.

Ruben Dias v Marcus Rashford

Portugal defender Dias has been back to his best for City during the run-in. After a spell out around the turn of the year, he has recovered form and fitness to provide a rock-solid barrier at the heart of the defence. He will come up against United’s player of the year Rashford, who has bagged 30 goals in all competitions. The forward’s scoring rate may have slowed after a prolific spell in the winter, but after overcoming a recent illness, he will be United’s main threat.

Rodri v Bruno Fernandes

Rodri has enjoyed his best season for City and is now widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. The Spaniard not only provides a defensive shield, but is a driving force who regularly initiates and supports attacks. Fernandes is an important cog in the United midfield. He finds space well, makes dangerous runs and passes incisively. He is both a creator and goalscorer, and has shown of late he can be as effective on the right as centrally.

Kevin De Bruyne v Casemiro

It is remarkable that De Bruyne was criticised by Guardiola just a few months ago. The Belgian playmaker had been performing well enough but the City boss clearly felt he had another level. So it has proved, with the 31-year-old outstanding in City’s charge to the title and two finals. His partnership with Haaland has been especially potent and Casemiro will aim to keep a close watch. The experienced Brazilian has made a big impact at Old Trafford this season, providing a steeliness and maturity they previously lacked.

Erling Haaland v Raphael Varane

Haaland’s first season at City has been absolutely sensational with 52 goals scored in all competitions and nine assists for good measure. His size, pace and strength make him difficult to contain and, after scoring so many goals this term, he will now want to add some signature trophy-winning ones. Varane will provide a good challenge. The Frenchman reads the game well, is strong on the ball and is quick himself.

Kevin De Bruyne is "right up there" among the Premier League greats such as Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure and Paul Scholes.

That was the message to Stats Perform from Kolo Toure, who also likened the De Bruyne and Erling Haaland pairing at Manchester City to former Arsenal combination Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

The Belgium midfielder has been central to City's push for a third straight top-flight title this term, assisting 16 times and scoring seven of his own in the league.

Toure believes not many compare to De Bruyne as City remain competing for the treble, with an FA Cup final against Manchester United and a Champions League last-four meeting with Real Madrid also to come.

He said: "[Kevin De Bruyne] is right up there with those top, legendary players. Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure, all those players, Paul Scholes.

"I rate him really, really high, because this guy technically, tactically is unbelievable. His range of passes is fantastic, his vision is incredibly great and he is, for me, the best midfielder in the world right now.

"One of them definitely. Maybe the best one, because what he has shown game after game is great."

De Bruyne put City in control of the title race with his double against Arsenal in Wednesday's 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland followed that up with the final goal against the Gunners before netting his 50th strike of the season across all competitions in Sunday's narrow 2-1 win over Fulham.

That half-century tally of goals is 21 more than any other Premier League player this term and more strikes than seven English top-flight clubs in all competitions this campaign.

Toure says the combination between Haaland and chief creator De Bruyne reminds him of Arsenal legends Henry and Bergkamp, who played an integral role in the Gunners' last title-winning campaign back in 2003-04.

"He shows all his quality technically, tactically with his passes and having Haaland with him has made his game even better, because he has a player he can pass the ball to, as soon as he lifts his head Haaland is on his way and he can pass him the ball at the right time," Toure added.

"Sometimes in teams when you create those relationships – in our time you would say Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, and Thierry Henry as Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne as Dennis Bergkamp really.

"They have this connection together and you can feel that they both know each other, they look for each other. When one provides the ball and the other one scores, the other one runs at him and praises him.

"But, De Bruyne at the moment, for me, is top, top, top. Right up there with all the top midfielders we have had in the Premier League, definitely."

Pep Guardiola was adamant that the next three games will dictate the title race after Manchester City's commanding 4-1 home victory against Arsenal saw them take charge of the Premier League. 

City remain in second place and two points behind Arsenal but, with two games in hand over their London rivals, have wrestled the momentum into their own hands with just seven games to go.

A brace from Kevin De Bruyne alongside goals from John Stones and Erling Haaland cemented a dominant home display from Guardiola's side, but the City manager was quick to turn the attention to the crucial fixtures ahead as City look to take advantage of their games in hand over their London rivals.

"I know the next three games are really important," he said speaking to BT Sport.

"Fulham on Sunday, what Marco Silva has done this season is incredible, and then after the two games at home against West Ham and Leeds, these games will dictate the season.

"The reality today is we are behind Arsenal, they are two points in front of us."

Guardiola went on to laud the dominant manner of his side's victory who have now won 12 consecutive league games against Arsenal. 

"From the first minute we were incredibly focused," Guardiola said. 

"The guys responded unbelievably in an important game – not decisive, but really important.


"We are back-to-back Premier League winners so in September, October, when you lose a game you say you have time, but Arsenal were not like that. When we arrive in the last two months, the players know it’s close and if we lose, we have no chance.

"As a player, playing with that mentality that there is no other option but to win, that is the best way to approach the games. In the last two months, the players showed that every game we try to win and move forward."

Stones', whose header provided City's crucial second goal on the stroke of half-time, suggested that the experience of City's squad was a key factor in the crucial victory.

He said: "We've been through tough moments and situations at this stage of the season in the past, and it's done us so well - we know how to cope and what to do in different scenarios.

"Everyone's been there and everyone has that hunger. Day's like today there is a lot of pressure from the outside, but we know our jobs and what is asked of us on the pitch and that experience helps in those big pressure moments."

Guardiola will now look to guide his side to their fifth league title in six years and heralded the support from the club's board as well as the quality of his players for his remarkable success at the Manchester club. 

"This club gave me everything, from the hierarchy," he said.

"I remember the first season when we didn’t win, they supported me unconditionally. We were lucky as a team with how the way Liverpool pushed us in the previous seasons and this season, Arsenal – they got 50 points in the first half of the season. We want to win, why should we stop, it’s not necessary.

"I’ve been at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The incredible qualities of the players I have had at my disposal – it’s work ethic, the rest is quality."

Manchester City took the Premier League title race into their own hands with a 4-1 demolition job of leaders Arsenal on Wednesday.

Three straight draws saw Arsenal hand City the initiative before the Gunners' trip to the Etihad Stadium, and Pep Guardiola's side showed little mercy in a stunning display of dominance.

Kevin De Bruyne came to the fore, scoring either side of John Stones' header, which City's playmaker teed up.

Rob Holding snatched a consolation late on, but Erling Haaland ensured he had the last word with a goal that saw him break the record for goals in a 38-game Premier League season, as City made their point.

City were convinced they should have had a penalty inside three minutes, yet De Bruyne was adjudged to have fouled Thomas Partey after Aaron Ramsdale fumbled Jack Grealish's cross.

De Bruyne was wheeling away in celebration soon after, though. Having latched onto Haaland's superb touch, the Belgian beat Ramsdale with a sublime finish into the bottom-right corner. 

White and Ramsdale denied De Bruyne and Haaland respectively as City hunted a second, before the latter drilled wide at the end of a menacing run.

Ramsdale thwarted Haaland again, but Arsenal's resolve was punctured for a second time on the stroke of the interval – Stones heading home from De Bruyne's pinpoint free-kick, with the goal awarded after a VAR check on the linesman's offside call.

Haaland's battle with Ramsdale continued after the break, and Arsenal's goalkeeper again came out on top with a superb one-on-one save.

But Haaland turned provider for City's third in the 54th minute, playing a slick one-two with De Bruyne, whose crisp finish flashed beyond Ramsdale.

Partey lashing out at Grealish's taunts was as close as Arsenal came to laying a glove on City before Holding curled home with four minutes remaining.

Haaland, though, got his goal with the final kick of the game, as City emphatically took matters into their own hands.

Pascal Gross has signed an extension to his deal at Brighton and Hove Albion, meaning Seagulls fans can expect their team to keep creating plenty of chances.

The 31-year-old has been at Brighton since arriving from Ingolstadt in 2017, contributing 23 goals and 33 assists in 184 Premier League games for the club.

Since Gross came to England's top-flight in Brighton's first season after promotion from the Championship, only Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne (535) has created more chances than his 388, ahead of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (381) and Mohamed Salah (361).

Brighton announced on Wednesday that the German midfielder has extended his stay at the Amex Stadium until 2025.

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