Micah Richards thinks Man City have the “psychological edge” over Arsenal in the Premier League title race after their narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Erling Haaland’s second-half penalty was enough to seal victory on a rainy evening at Selhurst Park after the resilient hosts had largely frustrated Guardiola’s side before the break.
Haaland’s 78th-minute spot-kick to draw Man City closer to table-toppers Arsenal extended his Premier League-leading tally to 28 goals.
The win saw Man City cut the gap to the Gunners to two points but Mikel Arteta’s side could push it back to five points if they beat Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.
And Richards thinks Man City “know the level they are and how far they can go” and that Arsenal “don’t have that at the moment”.
Richards said on Sky Sports: “Man City have not been at their best but they’re managing to win games.
“If I go back to the time I was in a title race, you would watch the other games, Arsenal would have watched that tonight. City not playing at their best but still getting the three points through a late penalty, that’s demoralising at times.
“Our title race was against Man United and that psychological battle going around in your head is really tough.
“What Man City have that Arsenal don’t is the experience of being there and doing it. They know the level they are and how far they can go.
“Arsenal don’t have that at the moment. I thought Arsenal would challenge this season because of the fresh ideas and the passion.
“But Man City may have a psychological edge so it’s about whether Arsenal can focus on what they need to do. They’ve been in good form too so it will be interesting.”
Speaking about Haaland after the match against Palace, Man City boss Guardiola said: “The way he celebrates his goals and his mates’ goals shows how happy he is here and how we are with him and his personality. He is a young lad, and to take the ball there under this pressure and put the ball away with determination and score was great.
“What I would like when I finish our period together is the fact that he could improve the game with the association with the team, with the right tempo, realising how he can be involved in our game, not just putting the ball in the net. Because the net will happen all the time in his life.
“This guy doesn’t score one or two goals and the people go, oh he’s not the same! He is always there so the numbers speak for itself. One of the biggest attributes I’ve discovered knowing him and working together is the fact that he can miss one chance, second, he’s not getting depressed, he’s not sad.
“He’s thinking positive, he knows (he) will have the chance, he knows he will be there. And this is an incredible attribute as a football player.”
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