Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants fans to support Arsenal clash

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants fans to support Arsenal clash

Pep Guardiola has called on fans to paint Manchester blue and crank up the noise for a potential title decider this week.

Guardiola's Manchester City host Premier League leaders Arsenal on Wednesday in a match which could see the Treble-chasing champions completely wrest the title initiative from the Gunners.

Arsenal have topped the table for most of the season but their advantage has been eroded in recent weeks and victory for City would take them within two points of the top with two games in hand.

City go into the game with confidence and momentum after winning 11 of their last 12 games and reaching both the Champions League semi-finals and FA Cup final in the last few days.

Guardiola is well aware of the significance of the fixture and wants fired-up supporters to help maintain City's charge.

The City manager said: "It's really important, the final we have on Wednesday - and it is a final - against a team who have been the best team in England so far. They are five points ahead of us.

"Hopefully all Manchester that day will be blue and they can come to support us. We need incredible noise from the first minute to the last as I know which opponent we are going to play against.

"Even though they've drawn the last three games, the way they play is difficult to stop. You have to read exactly what you have to do.

"It's a massively important game for us. If we win it's a step to getting it completely in our hands.

"We have this opportunity and we want to take it. Hopefully the whole of the Etihad will be full three hours before."

City have beaten Arsenal twice this season, in the Premier League and FA Cup, while the London side have also faltered, with draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton in their last three games.

Guardiola, however, is not reading too much into their current form.

He said: "I would say that they went to Anfield and got a result - that's not easy. You can drop points there as we know.

"And when you play teams fighting to survive it's difficult for everyone. It can happen to us. The momentum can go and we can lose.

"I know how difficult it will be. They are huge competitors from the manager to the players and if they sustain that, we will have to be there."

Guardiola made six changes for Saturday's comfortable 3-0 FA Cup semi-final demolition of Sheffield United at Wembley.

Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and John Stones were among those dropped to the bench but Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan were retained as Guardiola sought to find a balance between resting players and maintaining rhythm.

He said: "I said on Friday I was not giving rest because the FA Cup was not important. It's not about that. I saw them tired.

"Rodri spoke with my staff and said, ˜I cannot play, I'm devastated'. When that happens, you don't play and I had a feeling with John Stones and other ones.

"I spoke with Gundo (Ilkay Gundogan) and he said he felt fresh, so that's why the line-up was as it was. In these type of games if you make a lot of changes you drop too much."