Riyad Mahrez has revealed he was ‘killing’ Arsenal star and former Manchester City team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko during the Premier League title race. Zinchenko, a four-time Premier League winner with Man City, was hoping to guide Arsenal to their first league title since 2004 after completing a £30m move to north London last summer. The Ukrainian emerged as one of Mikel Arteta’s most important players as Arsenal mounted a surprise title challenge and spent most of the campaign at the top of the table. However, Arsenal’s form dropped off drastically at the business end of the season, allowing Manchester City to secure a third successive title with three games remaining. Man City have been in sensational form in the second-half of the season, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning 11 league games in a row and booking a place in next month’s Champions League and FA Cup finals.
When asked whether he has kept in regular contact with Zinchenko despite Man City battling Arsenal for the title, Mahrez told beIN SPORTS: ‘I’m killing him!’ Mahrez’s Manchester City team-mate Phil Foden then said: ‘You two are never off the phone…’ Mahrez continued: ‘Yeah, I’m always on the phone to him. He’s my friend so we’re always joking about things and talking about stuff. But he’s a bit sad at the moment so I’ll wait until we lift the trophy and then I’ll call him again.’
Manchester City were crowned English champions for the fifth time in six years after Arsenal’s poor form continued with a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest. City captain Ilkay Gundogan said: ‘The Premier League is without doubt the most demanding and competitive league in the world, so that tells you everything about what an achievement this is. To have won this trophy three times in a row and five times in six years is incredible. That quality and consistency helps sum up what Manchester City stand for and ensures the club will continue to strive for success going forward. It has been a season I will never forget.’
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: ‘I am incapable of thinking about it right now. We have to congratulate Man City. It has been an incredible journey for us over 10 months competing with City, being ahead of them for so long. We have learned huge lessons. We have transformed a lot at this club. We have made huge steps, but the icing on the cake is to win a championship and we fell short.’
After securing yet another league title, Man City will now turn their attentions to the possibility of a historic treble as they face Inter Milan in the Champions League final and Manchester United in the FA Cup final.