Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, said on Friday that Arsenal was the club that posed the greatest threat to his team’s title defence in the previous season, and that the London club would once again compete for the Premier League championship.
Arsenal had the lead in the league for a significant portion of the previous season; however, City overtook them in the final stretch of the season and took the league championship away from Arsenal on their way to a historic treble.
However, Mikel Arteta’s squad prevailed against City to win the Community Shield, and they are one of just two sides in the league to remain unblemished so far this season. Before Sunday’s match at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are now in third place in the league, one point behind the leaders City.
“During the previous campaign, Arsenal was our primary adversary. They were nowhere to be seen in the past. They have already come, and they will be there for a considerable amount of time,” Guardiola said to the press, adding that Arsenal and Liverpool are their most significant competitors for the crown.
“They are a good team… They (Arsenal) are doing well.” They follow a predictable format. They battled their way to the top, and now they’re back to defend their title. Arsenal have resumed play.
“Ever since I was a small lad, Arsenal have always been present in Barcelona, and they are now playing there once again. One of the most difficult games is when you have to go to the Emirates.
The previous Saturday, City suffered their first loss in the league when they travelled to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Guardiola has said that he anticipates a different game since Arsenal will not sit back and defend at home.
“The situation is very different for Wolves compared to Arsenal. The wolves begin their defence from the first minute. In the case of Arsenal, I really doubt that this will occur. We have to adjust, but we’re quite familiar with one another, and we’ll see what happens,” he continued.
Rodri, an important presence in the middle of the pitch, will not be available for Guardiola’s team since he was banned for the match. City have won each of their past 12 league games against Arsenal.
Today, we will have a conversation with the workers, and tomorrow, we will analyse. The preparation for tomorrow has begun,” remarked Guardiola.
“Rodri is one of the two or three best holding midfielders in the world, and the fact that he is not on the team is normal, but it is still a big deal.” He is nowhere to be found. We’ve made progress despite the absence of key members over the course of several years. On Sunday, we are going to compete without him.
Regarding the status of his injured players, Guardiola said that Kevin De Bruyne is making progress but will not be available for selection, and that John Stones, who was selected for the England team, would not be ready for the match this weekend either.