Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has cautioned that the Premier League title race is far from over and has reminded his players of their previous experience with Arsenal.
City dominated the league leaders 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, positioning themselves in a strong position to secure their fifth league title in six years.
They are now only two points behind Arsenal and have two games in hand, and a win against Fulham on Sunday would place them at the top of the table. However, Guardiola is mindful of his team’s draw against Nottingham Forest in February, just days after their victory over Arsenal, and is determined to avoid a similar outcome.
The City manager said: “People start to say they have the feeling it’s over, but it’s not over. It will be over when it’s over, and it’s not over.
“We have seven games and in every single game we’ll play for special things for our opponents and ourselves. We have to play our game.
“At the Emirates we won, everyone was happy and saying we had caught Arsenal, but we went to Nottingham Forest and we drew. We played a fantastic game but it was a draw.
“Now we’ve won and we go to Fulham, a special stadium with an incredibly organised team. If we do our job we’ll be closer but nothing is for granted.
“I know it is not 20 games left, but seven games are seven games. It is still a lot of games.”
Arsenal’s challenge has faltered during a miserable April, with their midweek loss at City coming after three successive draws.
Guardiola, however, feels City’s advantage is a slender one and expects Mikel Arteta’s side to bounce back.
He said: “I know Mikel perfectly and the players know that they will not give up.
“If we were 10 points in front I’d say it was almost over but the reality today is we’re two points behind. If the championship finished today they are champions.
“Always I say what happened to them in the last games – three draws, one defeat – can happen to us.
“Impossible? No, it can be possible. You can lose games and drop points in one week. We have to be aware of that. If we are it will be easier for us not to drop points.”
After seven successive Premier League wins City – who are also bidding to win the Champions League and FA Cup – appear to be timing their charge perfectly.
“We have good momentum,” Guardiola said. “The feeling is good but we have to prove it again.
“If we don’t get a result at Fulham we will be in the same position as before Arsenal. We have to try to avoid that as much as possible.”