Thursday, November 23, 2017

Don´t worry Arsene – Guardiola dismisses City´s invincible prospects

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Nov 2017

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Pep Guardiola insists Arsene Wenger has no need to worry about Manchester City matching the exploits of his ‘Invincibles’.

Wenger guided Arsenal to an incredible Premier League triumph in 2003-04, when the Gunners went through the entire season unbeaten.

City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday with nine wins and a draw from their opening 10 Premier League matches this season.

A thrilling 4-2 win at Napoli in midweek also made it four Champions League wins out of four for Guardiola’s men, leading to speculation over how far City’s hot streak might extend.

Speaking before the game, Wenger expressed doubts over City’s capacity to emulate his most famous side and Guardiola told a pre-match news conference that he and the veteran Frenchman are on the same page.

“I would like to say to Arsene that this record belongs to him. We are not going to break him. He has to be calm and sure that is not going to happen.

“It belongs to his team, an exceptional team, because to go through the Premier League unbeaten is something fantastic.

“It belongs to him. He has to know that we don’t want to break this record. We want to play well and beat him on Sunday. That is what we want to do.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte described Guardiola’s rampant team as “a big problem” for anyone else with title ambitions but the City manager maintains there will be tough times ahead for the leaders.

“We are five points in front ahead of [Manchester] United. How many games left? 28. How many points… mathematics, I am a disaster… 84.

“84 points to play, five points in front. It is nothing.

“If you tell me we will play until May the way we have played over the past two months I will tell you we have a good chance to win the Premier League.

“But who assures me that is going to happen? Who can assure me we are not going to have injured players or have bad moments?

“Even for the best teams in the world in history, it is impossible to maintain what we have done over the last two months.

“March and April are the best months to talk about that. With 84 points to play for, it is nothing.”

Nevertheless, Guardiola observed a mental toughness as City came through a stern examination at Stadio San Paolo – something not always evident during his first season in charge.

Jose Callejon put the Serie A table-toppers in front and Jorginho levelled at 2-2 after goals from Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling offered a clinical response to make the points safe, much to their boss’ delight.

“After 2-2, when they are so in the game, the first action with Danilo, Kevin [De Bruyne] and Rash [Sterling] was so aggressive and we regained the ball quick,” he added.

“In those terms, maybe you can think one point is good for qualification, but we made a step to win the game.

“Napoli had conceded three goals in all the season at home and we scored four, so it’s a lot.

“In those games tactics are important but it is about the mentality – when you believe you can do that. It is important we have realised we can do that.

“People say we are unbeatable – we are beatable. A team, I don’t know when, are going to beat us. How we react, like we reacted at 1-0 and 2-2 at Napoli, that is when you really become a good, good team. That is what I want to see.”

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