Rodri’s absence a ‘stat’ in Arsenal defeat, says Guardiola

9 October 2023 - 6:10 pm

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola spoke to the press after the 0-1 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The Spanish manager spoke about Rodri Hernandez and his absence from Sunday’s game.

Second-placed Arsenal head into the international break two points above third-placed Manchester City, with leaders Tottenham above their north London rivals on goals scored.

The bitter memories of 15 league games without a win over City can be consigned to history as Arsenal showed they can go toe to toe with Guardiola’s star-studded team. They restricted City to only four shots and never let the visitors establish their trademark passing and movement.

“City are constantly asking you questions, they threaten you in certain areas. You have to be really aware. Emotionally it is not easy to chase for 15 or 20 minutes. I thought the players were excellent, everyone was dancing in the dressing room afterwards!,” Arteta said.

City have now lost two successive league games for the first time since December 2018, with three defeats in their last four matches in all competitions. Asked why City have suddenly dipped after winning their first six league games this term, Guardiola pointed to the absence of suspended midfielder Rodri.

The Spaniard missed each of City’s recent defeats and, tellingly, they won when he was available for the midweek Champions League tie against Leipzig.

“That is a stat. We cannot deny it. We put players to control more passes but Arsenal are aggressive in these areas. Rodri is an important player but he is not there for the reason everyone knows,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola sees no harm in coming from behind in the title race after his team overhauled Arsenal last season. “No team has ever won four in a row in the Premier League. We are in October. Maybe it is good to be behind and try to catch them. Last season we were far behind,” he said.

“I know these players for many years and what we have done together. It is (an) honour and privilege to seem them running and fighting.”