Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his side have “made strong strides” this season, regardless of their last two Premier League games.
Arteta’s side were seven points ahead on 26 December but are now four points behind City.
“We built that core and that foundation,” Arteta said.
“There is a lot of quality, a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm, but also surrounded by a lot of good people with the right experience, with a lot of leadership around them.
“We have to continue that because the demands, the expectations, the challenges of the next season are even higher.”
Arsenal lost just once in the league between the start of the season and February, building a solid lead at the top of the table.
But three consecutive draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton in April were followed by a 4-1 loss to Manchester City.
The Gunners are back to winning ways in high-flying Newcastle on 7 May, but approx beaten 3-0 at home by Brighton last weekend as Guardiola’s team opened up a lead over their title rivals.
‘Pain is about football’
With City having played a game less than Arsenal, defeat by Forest on Saturday will confirm Guardiola’s side as champions before they host Chelsea on Sunday.
A draw would keep Arteta’s side in the mathematical race – they could finish level on points with City, but the reigning champions have a much better goal difference.
When asked how the Arsenal game was “painful”, Arteta said: “It depends on how painful it is.
“There are a lot of opportunities to be very happy with what we did. Let’s see where we finish in the next two games.
“Pain is part of football – if you don’t win, if you don’t perform at your level, it has to hurt.
“You have to hurt the right way and you have to use that pain to get better and to find answers and solutions that will help you win more.”