Guardiola backs Emery to mount title challenge with Arsenal

Unai Emery has the experience to turn Arsenal into a Premier League title challenger, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has the capability to fight for the title, believes Guardiola.   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has backed Unai Emery to make an instant impact at Arsenal and turn the club back into a Premier League title contender.

The Gunners have not won the league since 2004 and, after finishing fifth and sixth in the last two seasons, Arsene Wenger brought an end to his two-decade spell in charge.

Arsenal turned to former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach Emery to replace Wenger and the Spaniard welcomes Guardiola's Manchester City to Emirates Stadium on Sunday for his side's first match of the new campaign.

City topped the table by 19 points last time around - 37 clear of Arsenal - but Guardiola, who will not be offering any words of advice to his opposite number this weekend, is confident the men from north London will be in the mix come the end of the season.

"They can do it," he told a news conference. "He has enough experience to know exactly what [it takes]. He was in France, he was with many teams in Spain, so he has a lot of experience.

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"Maybe my advice is alright for me but it might not work for him. People spoke to me when I arrived saying it's like this or like that, but I discovered many things during the process, watching what happens.

"He is a smart, intelligent, well-prepared manager, so he will know exactly what to do.

"I have a lot of respect for his career, starting from the bottom and making an excellent career, winning titles and making his teams difficult.

"Now he is at Arsenal, one of the best teams in England, and of course he is a contender to win titles."

Guardiola insists City would be foolish to think it will ease to the title by such a significant margin once again and believes Arsenal will be part of a strong chasing pack over the course of the season.

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"Everybody is able to dream," he added. "What we have done last season, now [people say] we are going to win [again] – nobody can assure me of that.

"By that thinking, last season we wouldn't have won the Premier League because Chelsea won the year before.

"We just start again. That's why it's fascinating. Forget the World Cup and everything else, it's a new challenge.

"Of course we accept the challenge to win back-to-back, but what we have to do is to be ourselves. That is the main thing we have to try to do.

"Even when you are perfect, the other team can be better. I have played in finals when we were excellent and you lose, because the others are good teams as well. And here in England there are many.

"Forget about Liverpool's spending, because of course they have spent a lot, but last season they were a top team as well.

"Maybe Tottenham couldn't spend because of the stadium, but Chelsea – imagine Jorginho, [Mateo] Kovacic and [N'Golo] Kante in midfield, and [Eden] Hazard, Willian, Pedro and [Alvaro] Morata in front. You cannot say they are not a contender.

"Or Manchester United. People don't know how good they will be this season, but I know the manager a little bit and I know in that situation how good they will handle it."

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