How Man City can still beat Arsenal to the Premier League title with huge six weeks ahead

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City need to be “almost perfect” to catch Arsenal in the title race.

As the champions bid to hunt down the leaders, they face a pivotal six weeks in which they play Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham twice and Arsenal.

City will kick off at Stamford Bridge on Thursday eight points behind Arsenal, and Guardiola believes they will need to amass over 100 points to beat the Gunners to the title this season.

Here, Standard Sport assess what factors could be crucial to their hopes of doing that.

Complete their Haaland adjustment

That there could even be any hint of a down side to Erling Haaland’s outrageous 21 goals in 15 Premier League games seems faintly ridiculous.

But City have grown so used to thriving without a classic striker as to almost have forgotten how to shine with one.

Haaland’s predatory instincts are beyond reproach, so it is perhaps incumbent on his team-mates to shoulder other workload elements to restore Guardiola’s demanding pressing and tactical approach to its devastating best.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

City can have few excuses should they fail to capitalise on Haaland’s prolific scoring rate, whatever the recalibrations required elsewhere.

Coax the best out of Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva has not started consecutive matches for City since October.

The Portugal playmaker can bend a game to his will with a mix of deft craft and deadly execution, but City have yet to enjoy those talents to their fullest this season and Guardiola is hoping all that will change in the coming weeks and months.

Silva could start at Chelsea on Thursday, where an influential showing could set the tone for the second half of the season.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There has been much idle talk of Silva potentially leaving City, but the former Monaco man would be best served staying put and returning again to his game-dominating best.

Rediscover that champion swagger

Guardiola conceded on Wednesday that Arsenal are the side stalking around with the confidence of the being the best in the division.

That has long since been City’s preserve, especially given their dominance under Guardiola. So for City to turn the tide, they must wrestle back that sheen that only radiates off true winners.

Triumphant body language, quickly backed up in performance, can only serve City well now.

Momentum will also be key. In their past two title triumphs, City have delivered winning runs that subdued all before them. Another such sequence is required now.

Help Foden shake any World Cup hangover

Phil Foden has made just one start in City’s last six matches. The England star has found himself a regular substitute in recent weeks, and City will need the talented creative outlet at his fluent best to launch another title charge.

The lack of starts in recent weeks could just as easily be Guardiola trying to ease Foden back after the World Cup as a comment on patchy form.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Either way, a boost of morale and a club refocus would do the 22-year-old no harm whatsoever. City are craving regular goals and assists from Foden just as much as the Englishman will be hunting them for himself.