Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City will ‘play their game’ against Arsenal
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted he never had any doubts about his side after they bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The treble winners were knocked out of the Carabao Cup last week by Newcastle before suffering a shock defeat to Wolves in the Premier League at the weekend, but they delivered an excellent performance in Germany, dominating the match en route to a 3-1 victory.
Now City travel to the Emirates on Sunday to take on title rivals Arsenal and Guardiola was in a buoyant mood ahead of the match, saying he has always had total faith in his side despite recent poor results and intends to play ‘our game’ in north London.
Guardiola’s faith in his players
Asked about the importance of delivering such a strong performance ahead of facing Arsenal, Guardiola told TNT Sports: ‘Yeah, but I’m not going to judge my team on results.
‘Both games [against Newcastle and Wolves] was maybe not the best performance but it was not easy when 10 players defend in the box.
‘Ten players defending, five players, four players and a striker and a holding midfielder all in the box, it’s not easy! It happened, we were unlucky with the first goal, we were not sharp enough, it happened. It’s many games so I can understand it.
‘But despite that, if you think I’m going to doubt about the players or doubt about what we’re going to do this season because today we could have lost again, then you are wrong. You are not the right person to do these questions.
‘I rely on these guys unconditionally, winning or not winning, because I know the training sessions, the mentality that they have and they prove it.
‘And now we are going to Arsenal to do our game. Rest and hopefully we can arrive in March, April, May being there [in the title race], close to the competitions.
‘And I have a feeling we will not be an easy opponent to beat.’
Rico Lewis singled out for praise
Guardiola also singled out teenager Rico Lewis for particular praise after the win over Leipzig, describing him as ‘outstanding’, and he could be in line to play in midfield against Arsenal in the absence of the suspended Rodri.
Arsenal’s injury concerns
Arsenal have their own injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s match with Bukayo Saka potentially set to feature despite suffering a knock against Leeds United last weekend.
The Gunners have been in good form of late and are currently second in the Premier League table, two points behind leaders Manchester United.
Sunday’s match is sure to be an intriguing one with both sides desperate for the three points. Guardiola will be hoping his side can continue their impressive form from midweek and secure a vital win against their title rivals.
For more stories like this, check our sport page. Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.