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Pressure going to go both ways – Yaya Toure unsure how title race will play out

Yaya Toure collected the 2023 Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award in London on Sunday evening (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Yaya Toure collected the 2023 Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award in London on Sunday evening (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Yaya Toure believes both Manchester City and Arsenal will be feeling the pressure as they battle it out at the top of the Premier League.

Arsenal sit two points clear at the summit following their last-gasp 4-2 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, with City only able to respond with a draw at Nottingham Forest later in the day.

City have won four of the last five league crowns while the Gunners have not lifted the Premier League since 2004.

Toure, who won three titles in eight years at the Etihad Stadium, feels the back-and-forth nature of the race at the top will see both teams feel the strain in a fight he thinks is too close to call.

“I think both clubs are doing well, to be honest,” Toure said as he collected the 2023 Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award in London on Sunday evening.

“At this moment Arsenal are doing fantastically well. The pressure is going to go both ways.

“You can see the results where Man City lost a point and Arsenal get three points in a tough game where they have twice been on the back foot.

“The fans will be enjoying it. I don’t know who will win it. I hope Man City will make it but let’s see as they are both in fantastic form in the running at the moment.”

Toure is currently working in the coaching set-up at Tottenham’s academy and offered his best wishes to Spurs head coach Antonio Conte, who is currently convalescing following gallbladder surgery.

“Get well soon,” he said. “To see you out of the dugout and the stadium is quite strange and I hope you get well and hopefully next week we will see you.”

In terms of his own journey, Toure revealed his plans to become a coach were in his mind towards the end of his playing days as he aims to recreate the success he enjoyed on the pitch at City and Barcelona – where he won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League.

“For me, the first step is to get the club improving, trying to learn and do what I was doing as a player,” he added. “I was winning and I want to transfer that into coaching – it isn’t going to be an easy journey but I will try.

“I have prepared myself well longer than people are thinking. Well before my retirement I was thinking about putting myself in a different jacket.”