MANCHESTER (AFP) – Arsenal remain in contention for this season’s Premier League title despite recent setbacks, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said Friday.
Arsenal’s last two league matches have seen them thrashed 6-0 by leaders Chelsea and held to a 2-2 draw with strugglers Swansea at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
But ahead of their match at home to City on Saturday, Arsenal are still in fourth place with 63 points from 31 games, six behind Chelsea.
However, third-placed City are three points better off than the Gunners with two games in hand on Chelsea, second-placed Liverpool (68 points from 31 games) and Arsenal.
“I think Arsenal have a chance of winning the title,” Pellegrini said Friday.
“Maybe they didn’t play well or have the results they needed in the last two matches,” the Chilean added.
“But I think that all the teams will drop points also from now until the end of the season, so I continue thinking that Arsenal have a lot of chances to fight for the title.”
In contrast to Arsenal, City head into Saturday’s match in fine form following a 5-0 thrashing of Fulham and an emphatic 3-0 derby success away to Manchester United.
“It was a very good start to the week, and we hope we finish in the same way,” Pellegrini said.
“It is always important for this club, the players and the fans to win the derby against United and we did it.
“Now we must continue by trying to win the next match and continue fighting for the title.
“This is a big game because it is against a team that is fighting for the title also.
“But it is not the last match and not the match that will decide the title. It is a huge step for continuing in the way we are going so far.
“Maybe Arsenal did not have a good week but they continue being a very good team.
“They are playing at home, they have very good players and I am sure that we will need to do a very good game if we want to win.”
Meanwhile Pellegrini denied reports Spain playmaker David Silva was doubtful for Saturday’s match in north London after suffering an injury against United.
“The team will be exactly the same as last time, with Sergio Aguero (hamstring) and Matija Nastasic (knee) out.
“Silva is okay and is in the squad list.
“Aguero needs one more week. We will see next week how he improves in his recovery from his injury. He will stay here and work.”