Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed that Arsenal’s ability to score late goals is a ‘credit to them’ after his side overtook the Gunners at the top of the Premier League.

The Citizens thrashed relegation-threatened Luton Town 5-1, with goals from five different scorers including Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol late on in the second half. The result meant they leapfrogged Mikel Arteta’s side to go two points in front ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Victory for the Gunners will take them back to the top of the league, barring an enormous win for Liverpool as they host Crystal Palace at Anfield. Both sides will know they have to match City’s result in order to keep the title race balanced in their favours.

Ahead of Sunday’s bout with Villa, Arteta claimed his players are focused on each game as it comes while keeping the big picture in mind.

He said: I think it’s [the pressure] just a motivation. They’ve lived it already and they are super excited about what we’re doing. The way the team is performing and winning matches. We know the challenge ahead of us and how good we have to be to win it. We’re going to try.

“We can be in all competitions, going into the semis of the Champions League or not. Every game will define what our future looks like. It’s the only thing possible to look at one day and one game at a time. It’s the only thing that maintains your focus and determines the task you have on the day which is the only thing you can control.

“I don’t know if [calmness is] conscious. You guys know me. It’s how I feel. One way or the other it’s very difficult to hide it. It’s how I feel. I want to give the players the best support and mindset to enjoy this moment and go for it and have a real sense of belief and determination to go for what we’ve worked so hard for for 10 months.”

Following on from the brutal fashion in which the Gunners lost the title race last season, they’ll want to seek out their revenge over City with just five matches left before the winners are crowned. But speaking after his side’s 5-1 win over Luton, Guardiola believes that his reigning champions don’t have an inherent advantage over their two rivals in the league and that it’s Arsenal who are able to control their own destiny.

“I don’t think it will be [a psychological boost],” he claimed.

“I have a feeling they want to be there [at the top of the table]. I don’t know how they [Arsenal] will do tomorrow, but they win a lot of points in extra time and it is a credit to them.

“But we are still there for the big trophies. I spoke to the players about how incredible it is to be here, after last season, to be right up here and the chance to reach the semi-final of the Champions League and to play Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. It is a real privilege. The team is alive.”