Football

Sane: City will take on Chelsea with no fear

Man City winger knows a win over league leaders will throw the title race wide open

They twice surrendered their lead at the Emirates Stadium in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal yesterday morning (Singapore time).

But Manchester City winger Leroy Sane believes his side are capable of getting a positive result against league leaders Chelsea on Thursday morning.

"On Wednesday, it's an important game against Chelsea," the German international told the club's official website.

"We can win and get three points."

Sane opened the scoring in north London, racing onto Kevin de Bruyne's excellent through ball before rounding Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina and coolly slotting home.

The strike was the 21-year-old's eighth goal from just 13 shots on target, and his second against the Gunners this season.

But he admitted that the result was disappointing, particularly as the table toppers had fallen to a 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace the previous day.

DISAPPOINTING

"It was disappointing for us because the other scores were good for us - Chelsea lost," said Sane.

"It's very difficult (to catch them). They lost and it was very important for us to win the game (against Arsenal) and get three points.

"We only have one, but we have to carry on."

The draw moved Man City to 58 points after 29 matches, 11 behind Chelsea.

Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur look most likely to benefit from the leaders' slip-up, but Guardiola's side know they can close the gap to eight points with a win at Stamford Bridge.

"Anything can happen," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.

"We know what we have to do against Chelsea.

"We'll head back up to Manchester to prepare, and then head back down to London.

"We play against a team who are stable in what they do.

"We don't have too much time to prepare."

City midfielder Fernandinho is optimistic that Chelsea, who beat City 3-1 away in December, can be pegged back.

"The Premier League is still open," he said.

"We have a tough game at Chelsea away, and to be close to them we have to win that game.

"We showed we came here to win the game. It was a missed opportunity."

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have stopped the rot after holding Man City to a 2-2 draw.

After crushing losses to Liverpool, West Brom and Bayern Munich last month, the result at least restored some confidence.

"Mathematically, it's not the best operation today, not for City and not for us. But we have the confidence gained and we have to restart now," Wenger said.

"We started with a high level of anxiety and were punished straight away.

MENTAL TEST

"Overall, I felt it was a mental test and you could see the team was touched on the confidence front. The fluency of our game suffered.

"We have shown great mental resource. The worst time in a football game to concede is just before half-time.

"On top of that, we lost (Laurent) Koscielny and, in the second half, we came back to 2-2.

"Overall, it will help us to build confidence because the players certainly showed some mental strength and that will help us to come back to our natural fluency."

Wenger was unsure about the extent of the damage to Koscielny, but said Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey could be available for Thursday morning's game at home to West Ham after both missed the City game.

Arsenal fans staged a march outside the Emirates Stadium before kick-off to protest against Wenger being offered a new contract and, inside, the atmosphere was tense throughout.

At one point in the second period, Alexis Sanchez stood still with his hands on his hips after Shkodran Mustafi had conceded possession, but Wenger was not concerned.

"I felt he did give everything today," Wenger said of the Chile forward.

"I didn't see negative body language. It's the way he is." - WIRE SERVICES

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