Milner remains cautious

The Northern Echo: Football Team Logo for Manchester City Football Team Logo for Manchester City

MANCHESTER CITY midfielder James Milner is in no doubt Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal could have a major bearing on the Blues’ title challenge – but stressed the table at the end of the season is what really matters.

City lie fourth ahead of the match at the Etihad Stadium, six points worse off than the Gunners, who are five clear of second-placed Liverpool and third-spotted Chelsea with all sides having played 15 games.

When it was put to him that the fixture had the feel of a title decider to it even at this stage of the campaign, Milner said: ‘‘Yes. With the gap they have at the top, if they win or we win, things are going to look very different, so it is important we get the victory.’’ City boss Manuel Pellegrini has challenged his side to be league leaders by the first day of 2014, and Milner added: ‘‘There are so many games in December, and if you look at the league table going into that month, it always looks completely different when you come out of it into January.

‘‘It is important that at that point it looks a lot better than it does now for us.’’ But the England international also emphasised that, while City want to move into top spot as soon as possible, ultimately the real goal is ensuring they are there when the action finishes on the final day of the season.

Milner said: ‘‘Maybe, but I just hope we are top at the end of the season – that is the main thing. It is all that matters.

‘‘If we can get there sooner then great, but as long as we are there in May, that is the main thing.’’

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