‘Neither Man City nor Arsenal looked like champions’, and Pep says Liverpool are now favourites for title

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When Jurgen Klopp joked he hoped both Manchester City and Arsenal would both lose, perhaps his impossible wish came true.

City and the Gunners played out a drab goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium in a contest that promised so much, but badly failed to live up to the hype with just three shots on target being delivered between both Premier League heavyweights across the 90.

It was a day for the defences as City and Arsenal played out an uninspiring goalless draw

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It was a day for the defences as City and Arsenal played out an uninspiring goalless drawCredit: Getty

The result leaves Liverpool, who got the better of Brighton earlier on Sunday, in the title race ascendancy as they top the Premier League table, holding a two-point lead over second-placed Arsenal and a three-point lead over third-placed Manchester City.

There are still nine matches to play for each side but City boss Guardiola believes it’s now Liverpool’s title to lose.

“Always who is first is favourite,” Guardiola said when asked if Liverpool were ‘clear favourites’ to win the league.

“The second favourite is Arsenal and we are third…It’s not in our hands. All we can do is think of Aston Villa (at home on Wednesday).

“Always when we were top of the league, we were favourites. It was in our hands. Now it’s not. It’s simple.”

This is a view shared by talkSPORT’s Adrian Durham, who claimed neither City nor Arsenal showed they have what it takes to win the league this season.

But former Arsenal player Perry Groves wasn’t having any of it as he clashed with the talkSPORT host live on air towards the end of the goalless draw.

Durham started: “Here’s what I think, I don’t think Manchester City are what they were last season, we said that before the game.

Liverpool got their job done earlier on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Brighton at Anfield

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Liverpool got their job done earlier on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Brighton at AnfieldCredit: Getty
Expect this title race to go right to the wire

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Expect this title race to go right to the wire

“Arsenal had a big chance to come here, make a big, bold statement in big neon letters and say, ‘yeah we are the best team, even on your own patch we are the best team.’

“A draw on the face of it might look like a good result but the performance from Arsenal I think has been quite shocking.”

Micah Richards takes dig at former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott during his analysis of Mo Salah on Sky Sports

Groves responded: “The performance hasn’t been shocking –

Durham interjected: “No, it has! They’ve shown no creativity and attacking intent whatsoever and that’s not Arsenal.

Groves said: “It’s been disappointing, it’s not been shocking –

Durham replied: “I’ve been shocked by it.”

Arsenal lost 4-1 in this fixture last season but avoided defeat this time around

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Arsenal lost 4-1 in this fixture last season but avoided defeat this time aroundCredit: Getty
But with City missing a few key players, was it a missed opportunity for Arsenal to lay down a marker?

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But with City missing a few key players, was it a missed opportunity for Arsenal to lay down a marker?Credit: Sky Sports

Groves said: “Defensively, they’ve been very, very solid.”

Durham added: “I don’t mean shocking as in bad. I mean it as it’s shocked me… I thought they were going to come here and show they were the best team in the country.

“My takeaway from this game is neither of these look like champions on the basis of what we’ve seen today.

Groves said: “You’ve just flip-flopped like Crooky [Alex Crook] on the basis of 90 minutes, you could look back at this at the end of the season and say, ‘that’s where they won the title.’

Guardiola says that Liverpool, as leaders, are favourites for the Premier League title

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Guardiola says that Liverpool, as leaders, are favourites for the Premier League titleCredit: AFP

Durham then said: “John Stones and Kyle Walker are out, Nathan Ake goes off in the first half. That is Mikel Arteta’s cue to really take the game to Man City and show them who’s boss and he hasn’t done it.”

Mikel Arteta admitted he couldn’t say whether the draw would aid Arsenal’s cause but took a significantly more optimistic viewpoint when asked to assess his side’s performance.

He said: “I think the context and the way we arrived here 11 months ago was different, but the difficulty remains the same.

“They are the best team in the world, in my opinion, by far. They have the best manager in the world by far. To catch up and try to better than them is the challenge ahead of us…

“I don’t know (if the draw is good for the title race). You want to win the game. You prepare to win it. If you cannot win it, make sure you draw it. We did that.

“Eleven months ago we were here and the story was very different. You have to make steps as a team and today we’ve done that. We still have many more to come…

“(It says) that we are improving and competing better and understand how you have to play these games but there is another step to make to win the championship. You have to come here and win.”

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