Manchester City can cut the deficit to Arsenal to two points on Sunday, but Pep Guardiola remains concerned about the difference between the two teams.
Pep Guardiola will not be rooting for Manchester United against Arsenal this weekend because he believes Manchester City are still miles ahead of the Gunners, even if they can close the gap to two points on Sunday.
City cut the distance to Arsenal to five points with a comeback win against Tottenham on Thursday, and they can cut it to two points again on Sunday if they defeat Wolves at 2pm before Arsenal hosts United later in the afternoon. By the time that game begins at the Emirates, though, City will have played two games more than Mikel Arteta’s leaders.
Guardiola didn’t hold back on Thursday night after his team rallied from 2-0 down to defeat Tottenham, blasting the club as a whole for their complacency and lack of drive to win a third Premier League title in a row. So, regardless of the weekend’s outcomes, the manager was still more concerned about those concerns than the Premier League table’s composition.
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“It has nothing to do with it. “It’s not about that,” he said when asked if he expected United to win on Sunday.
“They lose against United? If we play like this we will not catch them. We need to change ourselves and after if Arsenal continue for a long time, we have to congratulate them. It is not about three or four points. Sooner or later we are going to fall.”
Guardiola also dismissed the idea that City hold a title advantage because they have experience of chasing down big leads like they are currently faced with.
“It’s the history,” he said, listing the attributes he sees in the Arsenal team that City lacks. Look at what you have today. They have everything: set pieces, defensive organizations, 10 men in the box, five or six in the back, strong transitions, and the ability to win duels. How they talk, how they oomph, how they look at each other and converse, and how they interact. This is football strategy. We don’t have it right now.”
Guardiola was as outspoken when asked if he regretted selling Gabriel Jesus and Aleks Zinchenko to Arsenal, both of whom have played vital parts for Arteta’s side while City has struggled, particularly at left-back.
He said: “No. When you don’t want to stay and want to leave, you cannot stay. I wish the best for Gabriel and Aleks, fantastic people who helped us a lot. It’s not about that. Absolutely [their choice]. I never say one player leave. It’s the club, decisions they make.
“Of course Erling [Haaland] came so it was difficult for Gabriel but it is normal, Julian [Alvarez] maybe. It’s normal. It was a good deal, the players here like Raheem [Sterling], Aleks, and Gabriel always I have big compliments and big thank you for what they have done for us. After it is a good transfer for the club.
“Honestly, we are not in the position that we are because we don’t have Aleks or the others. They are good and my argument is beyond this type of things.”