Vieira gives Arsenal, Arteta reason for ‘optimism’ in title race with City’s ‘minds’ on Real Madrid

Jason Soutar
Patrick Vieira smiles after a match as Crystal Palace manager

Patrick Vieira thinks Arsenal should still feel “optimistic” about their chances to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.

The Gunners are currently a point behind the reigning champions, who have a game in hand.

Sunday is set to be a crucial day in the title race with City facing Everton at Goodison Park before Mikel Arteta’s side host Brighton.

Both matches are expected to be tricky, with Everton fighting for survival and Brighton hoping to qualify for Europe.

City’s match comes before and after a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with their hectic schedule.

Pep Guardiola has lots of players at his disposal and will obviously field a team that will make his side favourites at Goodison Park, but any hopes Arsenal have of winning the Premier League will be pinned on potential fatigue and minds being elsewhere in the City camp.

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Arsenal legend Vieira has urged Arteta to emphasise this to his players.

The former Crystal Palace and Nice manager thinks the Spaniard has to make his squad believe City will drop points and that is the only advantage the Gunners have in the race for the title.

“I think Arsenal still have to be really optimistic because they’re in the title race with a couple of games left,” Vieira told Sky Sports.

“You have to believe – or make the players believe – that Man City will drop points. You see Man City are in the Champions League and their mind could still be on that Real Madrid game and the final.

“They will obviously want to win that Champions League and of course that will take up a lot of energy.

“The message to the Arsenal players has to be: Manchester City will drop points.

“Arsenal can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves, they need to win their remaining games and hope Man City drop points.

“I believe that Arsenal have that in their minds and that’s why it’s about them winning from now until the end of the season and then crossing their fingers and hoping Man City drop points.

“Arsenal went through a difficult period and Man City are back top. But there’s still a few games left for things to change.”

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