Pep Guardiola has snubbed Arsenal and named the ‘best team in the Premier League’ despite Mikel Arteta’s side being the only club above Manchester City.
Arsenal are now top of the table and are five points clear of Guardiola’s side with 13 matches left to play.
The Gunners, looking to win their first title since 2004 and looking to return to the top four for the first time since 2016, lost 3-1 to City last month.
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Guardiola has now named who he believes are the best side in the Premier League this campaign – and it is the team who are now fifth – who have lost just two league games and conceded the least goals, letting in only 15.
‘The threats, transitions, set pieces – they’re the best team in the league,’ Guardiola said about Newcastle during his press conference on Friday.
He added: ‘They have not been here a long time [near the top four] and you always think they need time but they have done exceptional recruitment, experienced players, exactly what they need.
‘A manager [Eddie Howe] with huge quality. It’s maybe a surprise but not any more and I think they’ll stay there.
‘They are one of the toughest opponents we have to the end of the season. The mentality, transitions, threats, they are one of the best teams. That’s why they are there.’
Man City host Newcastle at the Etihad on Saturday as they look to put the pressure on Arsenal, who face Bournemouth later in the day.
Newcastle United recently lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester United and when asked if the Red Devils’ trophy triumph had motivated his team, Guardiola added: ‘No, nothing.’
Man City have been dominant in England since Guardiola arrived at the Etihad in 2016, lifting the trophy four times.