Manuel Pellegrini has warned Arsenal that last Monday's loss at the Emirates has not derailed Manchester City's title hopes and that wins in their next two games before the turn of the year will put them firmly back in contention for the title. The Gunners rode on the back of goals by Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to seize the win, with City threatening to make a comeback late into the game.
Yaya Toure scored with a brilliant attempt in the 82nd minute as City ramped up the pressure but were unable to infiltrate Petr Cech's goal, as the Gunners went four points ahead of their most significant challengers. City are known to come to life in the latter half of the season, with each of their last two title triumphs coming after they managed to grind out results in the latter half.
Leicester City remain the league toppers on Christmas with 38 points, six points clear of the Citizens but face the challengers before the turn of the year at the King Power Stadium, a match which can have significant repercussions at the top. City will be boosted by the return of Vincent Kompany to the core of their defence, with Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi struggling to keep pace with the rigours of the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero made a comeback against Arsenal after missing a chunk of the action with a heel injury but was unable to complete 90 minutes in the game. David Silva is another player who has missed a major part of the campaign and Pellegrini will be hoping for his big name players to deliver in order to close the gap at the top.
"We are in this moment in third, four points against [behind] Arsenal and six points against Leicester," Pellegrini said, as quoted by Goal. "We must play against Leicester on the 29th so it's very important to win these two games to finish the first round [of fixtures this season].
"The important thing is to be involved at the end of January, then try and win the title in the remainder of the season. We have to try to focus game by game — the next is Sunderland, we try to beat them at home which is never an easy game.
"Then we think about Leicester. We lost important points against Arsenal — a game of six points — but it was not a decisive game as I said before the match. You never win the title in December," he added.