Man City forward Riyad Mahrez rates Chelsea and Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League

Riyad Mahrez helped Manchester City beat Watford on Tuesday (Picture: Getty)Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez insists Chelsea and Arsenal are capable of winning the Premier League title this season.

City have made a superb start to their title defence, winning 13 of their 15 league fixtures to move two points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool.

Liverpool are the only other club yet to suffer a defeat in the Premier League this term, while Chelsea and Arsenal also occupy a top-four place.

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A number of pundits have claimed Man City and Liverpool will battle it out for the title, but Mahrez says Chelsea and Arsenal could also challenge.

‘Of course, everyone in the top four can win the league,’ the former Leicester City playmaker told CityTV after Pep Guardiola’s side beat Watford on Tuesday evening.

‘Nothing is done and we need to keep working very hard for each other and the team and trying to win every game.’

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Manchester City outplayed Watford at Vicarage Road and Leroy Sane gave the visitors the lead shortly before half-time.

Mahrez then added City’s second immediately after the break, before Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled home a late consolation goal for Watford.

‘You are not going to win every game 4-0 or 5-0. Going through these types of games makes you stronger,’ Mahrez added. ‘We played very well up until the second goal.

‘After that we created more chances and tried to kill the game but in football when you are 2-0 up and the opposition score, the crowd get behind them and it’s difficult.

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‘We are very happy to win and get the three points. You are not going to win every game 4-0 or 5-0. Going through these types of games makes you stronger.

‘Now we need to focus every three days. We need to be ready and at our top.’

Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge to face Maurizio Sarri’s in-form Chelsea on Saturday.

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Liverpool goalkeeping coach hailed by Jamie Carragher after key role in Riyad Mahrez’s penalty

Alisson dived the right way for Riyad Mahrez’s penalty (Picture: Getty)Jamie Carragher highlighted the role of Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg after Riyad Mahrez missed a crucial penalty in Manchester City’s goalless draw at Anfield.

Mahrez had a golden opportunity to send City top of the Premier League table after Virgil van Dijk scythed down Leroy Sane inside the box in the 85th minute of the clash.

However, Pep Guardiola’s £60million signing blazed his spot-kick well over Alisson’s bar and both managers had to settle for a point on Merseyside.

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Mahrez aimed for the top left corner of Alisson’s goal and replays show Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach, Achterberg, instructing the Brazilian to dive in that direction – which he did.

Achterberg was then be seen punching the air in the dugout as Mahrez wasted the chance to end Liverpool’s unbeaten record in the league.

Liverpool great Carragher spotted Achterberg’s antics in the dugout and highlighted the unseen work that goes in from backroom staff.

‘When I was up there doing commentary, I could see the goalkeeping coach John Achterberg,’ the former defender said.

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‘You can see what he’s telling him. Obviously if you’re facing then it’s top right.

‘He goes exactly there and the ‘keeper dives that way and look at the reaction. That’s the work they have to do, the analysis of penalty-takers.’

Gabriel Jesus ‘not happy’ with Pep Guardiola’s penalty decision in Liverpool draw

Mahrez pulled rank on Jesus (Picture: Jon Super/REX)Gabriel Jesus admits he was unhappy to be blocked from taking Manchester City’s penalty against Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola wanted Riyad Mahrez to take the 85th minute spot kick, with the City forward telling Jesus to move aside.

Virgil van Dijk’s challenge on Leroy Sane gave City the chance to steal all three points, but Mahrez shot high over the bar.

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The game ended with both sides sharing the points and Jesus said after the result he was disappointed to be passed over.

‘Obviously I’m not happy,’ he said. ‘As with Riyad, I’ve been practicing. I would like to have taken it, I was confident, so I was not happy that they did not allow me.

‘However, it was important that we didn’t lose. Pep spoke with me.

Mahrez missed the target by some distance (Picture: Getty)‘This is part of football, sometimes these things happen. I will support Riyad if the manager chooses him again.’

The stalemate at Anfield leaves City and Liverpool level at the top of the table, with Chelsea also on 20 points.

The penalty miss turned out to be a costly one for City, but Guardiola insisted it was his choice.

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Guardiola says he made the choice to overlook Jesus (Picture: Reuters)He said: ‘During the training sessions every day I see Mahrez taking the penalties and it gave me a lot of confidence.

‘It will be good experience for him, next time it will go in. Jesus wanted to [take it]. I apologise. It was my decision.’

Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez breaks silence after shocking penalty miss v Liverpool

Riyad Mahrez smashed his penalty over the bar (Picture: Getty)Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez insists he will not let his shocking penalty miss against Liverpool affect his confidence.

Mahrez had a golden chance to give City their first Premier League victory over Liverpool at Anfield for 15 years when the visitors were awarded a penalty in the 84th minute.

Substitute Leroy Sane was taken out by Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in the box, but Mahrez blazed his spot-kick way over the bar.

The Premier League clash finished goalless, meaning City, Liverpool and Chelsea are joint-top of the table going into the second international break of the season.

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Mahrez, speaking for the first time about the penalty incident, said: ‘My record is good in the Champions League yes, but not in the Premier League.

‘We have to go forward and stay strong – it’s football, it’s life.

‘It won’t affect me at all. Everyone misses penalties, even big, big players.’

‘Of course I wanted to score to help the team to win. I made the decision to shoot in the middle – the ball went up.

58 – Among players to have taken at least 10 penalties in the Premier League, only Juan Pablo Angel (50%, 5/10) has a lower success rate than Riyad Mahrez (58%, 7/12). Fluffed.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 7, 2018

‘Now I have to look forward. It’s part of football – sometimes you score, sometimes you miss.

‘But the most important part was that our performance was very good. We deserved to win, but sometimes it’s important not to lose, as well.’

Pep Guardiola refused to criticise Mahrez, who joined City from Leicester in the summer, and praised his ‘courage’ for stepping up, with Sergio Aguero already off the field.

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‘[Riyad] had the courage and the balls to take the penalty, in training he shoots perfect penalties but sometimes it happens,’ he said.

‘The usual taker is Sergio Aguero but he wasn’t there. We played so well so if you want to analyse the result it was okay.

‘Last season we lost here, and this season we drew, maybe next season we will win.’

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reacts to Riyad Mahrez’s shocking penalty miss v Liverpool

Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty against Liverpool at Anfield (Picture: Getty)Pep Guardiola refused to criticise Riyad Mahrez despite the Manchester City forward missing a penalty in Sunday’s goalless draw with Liverpool.

Mahrez had the chance to secure a narrow victory for City at Anfield after Leroy Sane was felled in the area by Reds defender Virgil van Dijk.

But the former Leicester City star blazed his spot-kick over the bar, and the Premier League showdown ended goalless.

Despite the shocking penalty, Guardiola said: ‘[Riyad] had the courage and the balls to take the penalty, in training he shoots perfect penalties but sometimes it happens.

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‘The usual taker is Sergio Aguero but he wasn’t there. We played so well so if you want to analyse the result it was okay.

‘Last season we lost here, and this season we drew, maybe next season we will win.’

On his team’s overall performance at Anfield, Guardiola added: ‘We competed and we controlled them in terms of the counter attack with their front three.

‘Our back four was so good and we enjoyed a lot of patient build up, but we didn’t create much after that. It’s a good result.

Pep Guardiola consoles Mahrez after the goalless draw (Picture: Getty)‘We tried to win and we didn’t concede at Anfield which is quite special. We had our chance and we tried to be ourselves.’

Manchester City defender John Stones, meanwhile, admitted Mahrez was ‘deflated’ after the game.

‘I think it was decided between the boys, Riyad was taking them well in training all week,’ he said.

‘He’s deflated. If it was me I would be the same. He feels he’s let us down. But he gave everything. Those things happen.’

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After Liverpool maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season, manager Jurgen Klopp said: ‘It was a very intense game.

‘Two very good sides sticking to their plans. We started brilliantly, it was spot on.

‘We couldn’t find a finish but we stayed in the game and deserved a point.’

MORE: Sadio Mane escapes red card after kicking out at Manchester City star Fernandinho

Riyad Mahrez denies refusing to play for Leicester City after Manchester City transfer fell through

Riyad Mahrez was back in training on Friday (Picture: Getty)Riyad Mahrez has defended his recent conduct, by insisting he never refused to play or train for Leicester City.

The Algeria international had been absent from training since the end of the transfer window, with reports claiming Mahrez was trying to force a deadline day move to Manchester City

Leicester though refused to sell Mahrez to City and the transfer window closed last week, but the attacker did not return to training.

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Mahrez was back in training on Friday for the first time this month and has angrily hit out at reports claiming he was refusing to play for the Foxes after a the switch to City fell through.

A statement read: ‘Over the past ten days, many people claiming to be my friend have spoken about me and things they know nothing about.

Mahrez had yet to train this month before Friday (Picture: Getty)

Manchester City 2017/18 Fixtures

Leicester City (H) – Sat Feb 10 FC Basel (A) – Tues Feb 13 (Champions League)Arsenal (N) – Sun Feb 25 (EFL Cup)Arsenal (A) – Thurs March 1Chelsea (H) – Sun March 4FC Basel (H) – Wed March 7 (Champions League)

(Picture: Getty)‘Off the back of that many people and journalists have made assumptions without properly checking the story, so I would like to clarify that all those so-called assumptions of why I was absent are completely untrue.

‘Myself nor my advisers have ever made any statements about that, so all presumptions made are totally without foundation.

‘Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts and had knowledge of my thinking either directly or via my advisers.

Mahrez wanted to join Leicester City (Picture: REUTERS)

But Leicester City refused to sell the attacker (Picture: Getty)‘I have been a part of the Leicester City team that has achieved much success including promotion to the Premier League and being champions of the League.

‘Myself nor my advisers have ever made any statements about that, so all presumptions made are totally without foundation.

‘Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts and had knowledge of my thinking either directly or via my advisers.

Paul Merson and Phil Thompson slam ‘ridiculous’ Riyad Mahrez and urge Leicester City to punish winger

Riyad Mahrez was said to be devastated that his move to Manchester City fell through (Picture: Getty)Paul Merson and Phil Thompson have slammed ‘ridiculous’ Riyad Mahrez and urged Leicester City to punish the winger.

After missing out on a move to Manchester City during the January transfer window, Mahrez missed five consecutive days of training and did not feature in the Premier League clash against Swansea City.

He will also miss Saturday’s trip to the Etihad, despite returning to training on Friday.

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Liverpool legend Thompson told Sky Sports: ‘I’ve got absolutely no sympathy for him. It has been handled very poorly by him and his agent.

‘I don’t understand why he had to hand in a transfer request. Surely if Manchester City wanted him then they would have gone about it the right way and agreed a deal earlier.

‘I know these opportunities come along once in a while but he’s taken bad advice in handing in that request and staying away from training.

Claude Puel hopes Mahrez can ‘get his head right’ (Picture: Getty)‘He was willing to take the new contract so he should honour that, especially with the size of the wage he’s on, so he needs to get himself back and apologise.

‘The players will wind him up but it will be over and done with in a week, and then it will be how the fans take him back.

‘The club have got to punish him and the PFA have got to back the club. He’s in breach of contract and if it was the other way round they would come down on the club.’

Merson, the former Arsenal and England forward, added: ‘I did have sympathy with Mahrez, but I don’t now.

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‘Since the window’s shut, you can understand a couple of days to get your head together and sort yourself out, but this is getting ridiculous now.

‘I don’t know what the club should do, that’s up to them, they should have taken £65m in my opinion, and now they’re struggling.

‘He’s got to come back, no one’s going to take him if he doesn’t come back. This isn’t normal.

‘Players get the hump, don’t get me wrong, they think ‘I should have got a move’, but Philippe Coutinho thought that and he was going to the dream of all dreams in Barcelona.

Mahrez returned to training on Friday (Picture: Getty)‘He came back, performed and got his move. You’ve got to come back, there’s nothing he can do now, nothing. He’s only making it worse now, whatever happens.’

Leicester boss Claude Puel refused to go into detail about Mahrez’s situation on Thursday, but said he hoped he can ‘get his head right’ and return to the squad with the right attitude.

‘I don’t want to comment and give details of our relationship with Riyad. It is important to all details remain inside the club and not in the public,’ he said ahead of the fixture against Manchester City.

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‘I hope Riyad can get his head right and to come back with us and to hard work. The best way is to come and to enjoy his football.

‘Riyad is a magnificent player and he loves football. He loves his relationship with his friends and team-mates. He needs to come back and to play, to touch the ball.’

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Claude Puel offers latest update on Riyad Mahrez replacing Alexis Sanchez or Philippe Coutinho

Will Mahrez leave Leicester? (Picture: AMA/Getty)Claude Puel insists that ‘nothing is close to happening’ in terms of Riyad Mahrez leaving Leicester but stopped short of saying the Algerian would not secure a transfer in January.

The 26-year-old has been hailed as a potential replacement for Manchester United-bound Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal and for Philippe Coutinho – who joined Barcelona in a £142million deal – at Liverpool.

Puel previously claimed that Mahrez would cost in excess of £100m if he was to leave the King Power Stadium, but he is still hopeful of keeping him.

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However, he would not slam the door shut on a potential exit as Leicester look to ‘manage it right’.

‘There is nothing new to say about Riyad,’ Puel said.

‘It is always the same thing, my response is the same. I am happy with him and he is enjoying his football and playing, this is the most important thing.

Will Puel let Mahrez leave? (Picture: Reuters)‘We can see in his performances in the games. He is a very good player and he likes this club, he likes his team-mates and there is a good feeling with him.

‘At this moment nothing is close to happening. For me and all the players, always this period is difficult for the players and the clubs, but it is important to manage it right.’

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Liverpool & Arsenal told to pay at least £100m to sign Riyad Mahrez

Will Mahrez join Liverpool or Arsenal? (Picture: Getty)Liverpool and Arsenal have been quoted a price of £100million to sign Riyad Mahrez by Leicester boss Claude Puel, as the pair target the Algerian to replace Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez.

The Premier League giants are keen to find high-quality replacements for the South American duo, with Coutinho joining Barcelona and Sanchez on his way to Manchester United.

Mahrez has been tipped to be an ideal addition for both clubs and has scored seven and provided seven assists in just 22 Premier League starts.

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Claude Puel speaks out on talk of Riyad Mahrez replacing Philippe Coutinho & Alexis Sanchez

Will Mahrez move in January? (Picture: AFP/Getty)Claude Puel hopes to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez in the January transfer window, despite the Algerian being heavily linked with a move to both Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Leicester forward has scored seven goals and provided seven assists in 22 Premier League starts this season and has been touted as a potential replacement for Alexis Sanchez and Philippe Coutinho.

Arsenal are set to lose Sanchez to Manchester United, while Coutinho quit Anfield to secure a dream transfer to Barcelona.

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