Gael Clichy insists Manchester City are still firmly in the title hunt.
City are seven points behinds leaders Chelsea heading into their New Year’s Eve showdown with title rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
Clichy refuses to panic at the size of Chelsea’s advantage and feels Antonio Conte’s side could yet stumble.
The France defender claims City must focus on themselves and be ready to pounce if Chelsea do slip up.
“We’re still in the title race,” he said. “Seven points is a lot, it’s a big gap and we won’t deny that.
“We’d like to be closer or even on top. But we have seen over the years teams dropping points for fun, teams coming back into the top four after two or three games.
“We must take it game after game and get the points on the board. Chelsea are playing really well, as we were in the first 10 games of the season.
“We all know in football that one morning you’re there and the next day you’re not there anymore so we have to be ready and take the opportunity when it comes.”
Clichy, who was part of Arsenal’s historic Invincibles in 2004, knows what it takes to win the title and feels Pep Guardiola can lead City to glory.
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“In nine seasons he has won 21 trophies,” said the left-back. “Twenty-one! You can’t question the ability of the manager.
“You can’t question someone who has won so many trophies. As a player it’s an honour to train with him because the sessions are unbelievable.
“I’ve had the chance to have many managers and he’s up there with the best, if not the best. If you look at his record, it speaks for itself.”
Clichy, 31, has won three titles with Arsenal and City and claims it is getting harder because of all the money in the Premier League.
“It’s definitely becoming more difficult,” he said. “The game has changed in the last 10 or 15 years.
“All teams are able to attract players. Teams in the bottom half of the table are able to bring in players who are playing for their countries.
“In England anyone can buy anyone. So even if some people say the league is not the best in terms of quality, in terms of challenge, there’s no doubt the Premier League is the hardest one.”