Pep Guardiola Expects Arsenal to Be Title Contenders Again
Arsenal, the Premier League's runners-up last season and the team that posed the greatest challenge to Manchester City, remains a strong contender for the title this year, according to City manager Pep Guardiola. Despite Arsenal's early lead last season, City managed to clinch the title and secure an historic treble. However, Arsenal won the Community Shield against City and is currently one of two unbeaten teams in the league. They sit third in the standings, just one point behind league leaders City, ahead of their upcoming clash at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Guardiola praised Arsenal as a formidable opponent, emphasizing that they have a clear playing style and determination to be champions. He believes that Arsenal is here to stay and will be a significant force in the title race. Guardiola also highlighted Liverpool as another major rival for the title.
"Arsenal was the biggest rival last season. In the past they were not there. They have already arrived and they will stay there for a long time," Guardiola stated.
He continued, "They (Arsenal) are a good team... They have a clear pattern. They fought to be champions and now they're here again. Arsenal are back. When I was a young boy and at Barcelona, Arsenal always were there and now they're back. Going to the Emirates is one of the toughest games."
Despite City's recent league defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Guardiola expects a different game against Arsenal, as he believes they won't adopt a defensive approach at home.
"For Wolves, it's completely different to Arsenal. Wolves defend from minute one. I don't think with Arsenal that's going to happen. We have to adapt, we know each other quite well, and we'll see," Guardiola added.
Guardiola also mentioned the absence of Rodri due to suspension, acknowledging his importance as one of the best holding midfielders in the world. However, he expressed confidence in the team's ability to adapt to the situation.
Regarding injuries, Guardiola noted that Kevin De Bruyne is improving but won't be available for the upcoming match. John Stones, named in the England squad, is also not expected to be ready for the weekend clash.