Man City must hit the ground running to remain in title race, says Mahrez


Manchester City have won the Premier League title in four of the last five seasons, but Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have set the pace this term.

Manchester City must make a flying start on their return to Premier League action after falling behind Arsenal in the title race, says winger Riyad Mahrez.

City travel to Leeds United for their first league game since the World Cup on Wednesday, trailing leaders Arsenal by five points ahead of the Gunners’ clash with West Ham on Monday.

Pep Guardiola’s side lost 2-1 to Brentford in their last game in the competition and are looking to avoid suffering back-to-back league defeats for the first time since December 2018.

Mahrez, who was on target as City knocked Liverpool out of the EFL Cup with a 3-2 win on Thursday, is aware of the importance of Wednesday’s trip to Elland Road.

“We have to go down to earth,” Mahrez told the club’s website. “We’re not at the top of the Premier League at the moment and that’s where we want to be.

“We will take it game by game, but our aim is to try to win another title.

“There are a lot of strong teams in England who could still win the league, so we are not just focusing on Arsenal, although they have been very good so far.

“If we want to win the league, we will have to be ready once the league starts again.

“Leeds are a big club and it’s hard to get there, but we know what to expect from them. We’ll be ready for it and hopefully get the three points.”

City won their two Premier League games against Leeds by an aggregate score of 11-0 last season – including a 4-0 triumph at Elland Road. The champions are looking to win back-to-back trips to Leeds for the first time since September 2000.

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