Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal and Liverpool will be Manchester City’s biggest title challengers this season.
Ahead of City’s trip to the Emirates on Sunday to face an Arsenal side that pushed them all the way last season, Guardiola remains wary of Mikel Arteta’s men, as well as Jurgen Klopp’s resurgent Liverpool.
He said: “Absolutely, Arsenal and Liverpool from what I’ve seen. We haven’t played 10 games yet but the big clubs will always be contenders and Arsenal is one of them.
“They are a good team, they have a clear pattern. They fought to be champions and now they’re here again.
“Arsenal are back. When I was a young boy at Barcelona, Arsenal were always there fighting with Fergie’s [Alex Ferguson’s] teams and now they’re back. When you look at the calendar, going to the Emirates is always one of the toughest games.
“The recruitment they have done is top, [they have an] exceptional level of player.”
City will again be without key midfielder Rodri, who serves the final game of his domestic three-match suspension having played in the midweek Champions League win at RB Leipzig.
Guardiola accepts it is a big hole to fill but is confident his players will cope, adding: “I will talk today to my staff, train this afternoon and then prepare tomorrow.
“Rodri is one of the two or three best holding midfielders in the world so his influence on the team is big. But he’s not there. We’ve coped with absences in the past and we’ll have to adapt.
“The team spirit is much more important than any tactic. If you have a good relationship then if one player makes a mistake your team-mate will help you. That relationship is so important and when we have an absence as important as Rodri we need to look inside to solve it.
“We cannot start crying and complaining. We have to find a solution.”
Despite defeat at Wolves in their last league outing, City remain top having taken 18 points from their opening seven games. Arsenal are third, a point back.