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Man City v Arsenal: Mikel Arteta says Pep Guardiola’s side at ‘levels not seen before’

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Manchester City have “raised the bar to levels not seen before in football” but Arsenal are “getting closer”, says Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

Premier League leaders Arsenal visit Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with third-placed City one point behind as the title race nears a thrilling climax.

It is the first time in 10 years that only one point separates the top three after 28 games, with Liverpool second.

“It’s a massive game for both teams,” said Arteta.

“It will give us a massive boost if we win but there is a lot of games to go after that.”

Manchester City, bidding for a fourth successive title, have won 12 of their past 13 league matches against Arsenal, with their only defeat a 1-0 loss at Emirates Stadium earlier this season.

City are looking to complete back-to-back Trebles, with a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid and FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea coming up.

“They have raised the bar to levels not seen before in football,” said Arteta. “You have to keep up with that pace and that is what we are trying to do.

“We learned from the level, it’s the level we want to be at. We are getting closer in the past two or three years. We need to close that gap and try to be better than them.

“They have earned the right for everyone to look at them as an example. It has raised our level and demands to try and be like them and beat them.”

City without Stones and Walker – but De Bruyne returns

City will be without England defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker after both suffered injuries while on international duty.

Walker went off early on during the Three Lions’ 1-0 defeat by Brazil with a hamstring problem, while Stones limped out of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Belgium because of an adductor issue.

But Kevin de Bruyne should be available having missed the FA Cup win over Newcastle, as well as Belgium’s friendlies with the Republic of Ireland and England.

“Kyle’s [injury is] more tough than John’s but they will be out – I don’t know for how many games,” said Guardiola.

“Kevin is so important. It has been a tough season for him with injuries. He has been out for a long time but he trained really well yesterday [Thursday]. We will see what he does in the next days.”

Meanwhile, Arteta said “there is a chance” Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel will all be fit for Sunday’s game.

‘We start an important time’

All three Premier League title rivals play on Sunday, with Liverpool hosting Brighton & Hove Albion at 14:00 BST before Manchester City face Arsenal at 16:30 BST.

As it stands it could be the last time the three all play on the same day until the final round of matches, albeit some fixtures are still yet to be confirmed.

With 10 games left it looks likely the race for top spot will go right down to the wire, although prediction models – compiled by Opta and data experts Nielsen’s Gracenote – suggest City are favourites despite currently being third.

“This season has been really good,” said Guardiola, whose side are unbeaten in their past 38 home games in all competitions.

“To be in contention for the three important titles now, we’ve done incredible work.

“Now it’s the last 10 games of the Premier League, we start an important time. We play the leaders of the Premier League and I’m sure the people [City’s fans] will give us what we need to perform at our best.”

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”



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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang



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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.



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