Pep Guardiola says Arsenal ended Premier League in second is a ‘success’ as it put an ends to their seven-year wait for Champions League football.
Manchester City defeat Gunners 4-1 on Wednesday and despite being two points behind Arsenal, Guardiola’s side have two games in hand as the champions look to retain the title.
Arsenal were eight points clear earlier this season and many tipped them to win the Premier League for the first time in 19 years but a late capitulation has seen them fail to register a victory in their last four games.
Guardiola believes Arsenal should be delighted to return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016-17 season, with the Gunners last finishing in the top four in the 2015-16 campaign.
Asked if he had the champagne ready, with City just one point away from securing a top-four finish themselves, Guardiola said: ‘Yes! It’s already there!
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‘Ask Arsenal… they are already in the Champions League.
Ask the owners from Arsenal what it means after six, seven years being out of the Champions League.
‘Next season Arsenal will be playing the elite, the best teams in Europe in an incredible competition. It is a success, absolutely.’
Guardiola is not writing Arsenal completely off just yet, though, and pointed to when City dropped points at Nottingham Forest in February three days after beating the Gunners at the Etihad.
City travel to Fulham on Sunday and Guardiola added:
‘People start to say it’s over, it’s not over. We still have seven games.
‘I know what happened when we won at the Emirates… we went to Nottingham Forest and we drew.
‘Now we go to Fulham, a special stadium against an organised team, a good team. We’re taking nothing for granted.
‘I know it’s not 20 games left, it’s seven, but seven games are seven games.
Especially considering we have Champions League games and so on.
‘We are there to try and [win the title]. We have good momentum, the feeling is good but we have to prove it again.
‘We have seven games but they have five. It is really close.
The performance against Nottingham Forest [after the win at the Emirates over Arsenal] was one of the best.
‘Travelling up from London, the late night… The team played incredible but we dropped points, we have to try and avoid it [again].
‘I know perfectly Mikel, I know, the players know – they [Arsenal] will not give up. If we were ten points ahead then I’d say it’s over. But we are two points behind.
‘We have to beat West Ham and Fulham. The reality, we are behind, if today the season finished, they’d be champions.
‘It’s possible – you can lose games and drop points in one week. We have to be aware of that.’