Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Manchester City have hired Pep Guardiola in order to help them compete with the continent’s elite clubs.
The Spaniard arrives as Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement at the Etihad Stadium after earning his reputation by winning trophies with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
However, Wenger was the first coach responsible for defeating both Guardiola’s historic Barca and more recent Bayern side in the Champions League and will look to continue in the same vein in a friendly against City in Gothenburg on Sunday.
“If they [Man City] picked up Guardiola, it is certainly because they are conscious of that problem [losing against big teams],” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
“I think last year was a surprise to me because of Pellegrini, everybody knew that he would leave, it made it a difficult season for them.
“I have a big respect for Pellegrini, he did a great job there. Of course the last season was a bit more difficult because everyone knew he was going.”
Wenger believes that the rigours of the fixture can bring his Arsenal squad up to speed ahead of the new Premier League campaign following a pre-season affected by international duty.
“We had a little bit of a stuttering comeback after the European Championship because I gave those players [who featured in it] a bit of a holiday,” the Frenchman explained.
“Manchester City have played one or two games less because one game was cancelled. I don’t think it has a big influence because it is more about the length of the preparation rather than the number of games you play.
“These games, like the one we played last night [Friday’s 8-0 win over Viking], are about 80 per cent of the physicality of Premier League games.”