Manchester City defender Nathan Ake feels Arsenal are still the favorites for the Premier League title despite his side’s 3-1 win at the Emirates on Wednesday. The reigning champions picked up a statement victory over the Gunners to go top of the table, although Mikel Arteta’s side still have a game in hand.
Ake acknowledged this in his post-match comments and insisted that City won’t get carried away with their current position and will take it one step at a time.
Speaking to the press, he said (via The Independent):
“No. They (Arsenal) still have a game in hand so they still have three points on us so we don’t want to get carried away, we will keep doing what we are doing, go game by game and take it from there.
“We knew beforehand it was going to be a very big game and we just wanted to win the game and get the three points and we did.”
Kevin de Bruyne opened the scoring for City in the 24th minute before Bukayo Saka leveled proceedings from the penalty spot minutes before the half-time whistle.
Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland joined the party after the break to make it 3-1 and hand the champions their 11th straight league win over Arsenal and draw level on points.
FT: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City.
1. Manchester City (51)
2. Arsenal* (51)
3. Manchester United (46)
*game in hand pic.twitter.com/El5AqCINxy
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) February 15, 2023
As things stand, City are ahead of Arsenal on goal-difference while having played one more game, but Ake feels this could give his side a psychological advantage ahead of the home stretch of the campaign.
“It is always what you want. We know there is still a long way to go, they have a game in hand but for us it is good to come to a tough place like this, get the win – that is important.
“It is small margins, it was so tight and both teams can create something out of nothing. We still have a long way to go but we do have that (title-winning) experience.”
Arsenal’s title charge fizzling out?
Until January 22, Arsenal held a healthy five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table, but just over three weeks later, it’s been totally wiped out.
🗣 “It’s exceptionally difficult to play at the level that they require you to play.”
Mikel Arteta felt Arsenal raised their level against Man City despite the defeat pic.twitter.com/j78DA0gQ4a
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 16, 2023
With two defeats and a draw in their last three Premier League games, the Gunners appear to have lost steam, allowing their rivals to close the gap on them.
But with one game still in hand – at home against Everton on March 1 – all’s not lost yet for Mikel Arteta’s side, although if their form doesn’t improve, it might as well be.
The Gunners will travel to former manager Unai Emery’s Aston Villa on Saturday, with City taking on Nottingham Forest later the same day.