Friday, February 17, 2023

Pep Guardiola reveals the one Arsenal player he feared getting on the ball during Man City clash

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Manchester City’s second-half game plan hinged on stopping Martin Odegaard during Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday.

The visitors broke the deadlock in the first half at the Emirates Stadium following a sloppy back pass from defender Takehiro Tomiyasu which handed Kevin de Bruyne a gilt-edged chance before the Belgian finished perfectly past the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale. However, the north Londoners fought back and equalised before the break, through Bukayo Saka, who converted his penalty after Eddie Nketiah was fouled in the box by City goalkeeper Ederson.

Speaking to Amazon Prime after the match, City boss Guardiola admitted that he was intent on his side stopping Arsenal captain Odegaard in the second period, something they effectively did as goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland eventually secured all three points for the away side.

“Second half we were much, much better”, the Spaniard admitted. “[In the first half] we let them play in the build-up, in our shape.

“When you let them play with Jorginho, [Granit] Xhaka with Alex [Zinchenko] they found the players in behind Odegaard and the other one, the players behind and the runners outside. In the second half at half-time we adjusted a little bit. Ruben [Dias] was really good, going more aggressive to Odegaard and we controlled more of the balls.

“We played more and more, and Erling helped us a lot because one against one we had to do more long balls and he used his power to enable us to do it.” The result means Guardiola’s men are now above Arsenal on goal difference, although the north London outfit do have a game in hand on their title rivals.

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