Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Man City manager Pep Guardiola delivers verdict on Arsenal title race

Man City manager Pep Guardiola delivers verdict on Arsenal title race

There will be more vital games for Manchester City to play this season, but the 2-1 loss to Brentford came at one of the worst periods.

This season, City has a fantastic record of bouncing back from defeats, but they will have to wait 47 days before they can put this loss behind them.

Erling Haaland was the only player involved on Saturday who will not be attending the World Cup, but for Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff, Saturday’s loss could linger as they begin their preparations for the tournament.

This week, Guardiola will travel to Barcelona to spend time with his family, as training will not resume until early December. Before Christmas, City will face Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, and on December 28, they will face Leeds United at Elland Road.

The City manager acknowledged that his team had struggled tactically against Brentford on Saturday, particularly forward Ivan Toney. There will be a great deal of focus on what went wrong during the break, but he will also review the first 22 matches before to the resumption of play.

“People go to their national team, they will be focused, it is a dream for them, it’s a World Cup,” said Guardiola.

“We have time to reflect, the staff, what we are doing good, what we could do better and, after, the Carabao Cup and Leeds, the first (league) game. And we will see how people come back.

“People say many things, the Premier League is difficult, we are going to try to come back good and fight for that.”

City is expected to go to Abu Dhabi on December 5 for a six-day training camp, which may include a friendly match.

Stefan Ortega, Scott Carson, Sergio Gomez, Riyad Mahrez, and Haaland are the only senior players currently heading to the tournament, and they will be involved in that camp. However, Guardiola will assess the physical condition of his international players upon their return from the World Cup after they have been eliminated.

As a result of Arsenal’s victory on Saturday night, City are currently five points behind Mikel Arteta’s squad in the title battle, but Guardiola is pleased with the campaign’s start.

“It’s been good. Before today. We go with that feeling that we lost, it’s always more difficult, but that’s the reality of this competition,” he said.

“We finish [qualify] in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup we’re through and the Premier League we’re close to Arsenal who have been really, really good. And now we will be a little bit behind but it is what it is. So the second part of the season will dictate how we are, how we are playing to do it.”

Having won 12 of their first 14 Premier League games, Arsenal’s chances of competing for the title appear to be growing. Guardiola acknowledges that his club has been the best in the league so far this season, but he is optimistic that his squad will be in contention in the New Year.

“I don’t know, hopefully we can be there. We will try. Now we come back, all the people come back, and after we try to see,” said Guardiola.

Man City manager Pep Guardiola delivers verdict on Arsenal title race

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