Saturday, March 6, 2021

´Incredible´ Saka impresses Guardiola as City close out win at Arsenal

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Feb 2021

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Bukayo Saka was one of the Arsenal players who made Manchester City suffer during their 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium, according to Pep Guardiola.

Raheem Sterling’s second-minute header was enough for City to extend their record-breaking winning run in all competitions to 18 matches and restore a 10-point advantage at the Premier League summit.

Guardiola’s side briefly threatened to run away with the contest, but Saka’s threat from the left flank brought Arsenal back into the match.

The 19-year-old England international completed all three of his attempted dribbles, while three shots were more than any of his team-mates managed.

“All the team suffered when Arsenal had the ball,” Guardiola told a post-match news conference

“With [Martin] Odegaard and especially with Saka they are a really tough opponent to play. They have incredible young, talented players and I see a bright, bright future for Arsenal.

“If they can get a few players in a few positions they will make an incredible step forward. They are a team who make all the opponents suffer a lot when they play against them.”

There are perhaps no City players more adept when it comes to addressing the suffering their manager identified than veteran holding midfielder Fernandinho.

The 35-year-old club captain made his first Premier League start since the end of January and gained possession nine times – more than any other City player.

Fernandinho also stood above his team-mates in terms of clearances (four), tackles (three) and interceptions (two).

“What a game, what a game he played – without the ball, winning duels in the important moments,” Guardiola said.

“Rodri has been exceptional but needs rest. What a game Fernandinho played. He is an incredible player, person and captain.

“Always, I will remember him. We have been together since day one and he has been so important.”

That association could come to an end at the end of the season, when Fernandinho’s contract expires, but Guardiola suggested he could be capable of similar feats next term.

“Why not? He’s so incredible,” he added. “He knows exactly what he has to do. What a game he played in a tough, tough game.”

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