Guardiola wary of Gunners repeating FA Cup triumph

#1
Unbeaten Manchester City’s season shows
no sign of losing momentum with 15 wins
from 16 in all competitions after
Wednesday’s 4-2 Champions League victory
at Napoli.
City have not lost a competitive match
anywhere since April, but that defeat came
in the FA Cup semi-finals against Arsenal,
the team who visit the Etihad Stadium in the
Premier League on Sunday.
Manager Pep Guardiola has said he sees no
possibility of City emulating the
achievement of Arsenal’s ‘The Invincibles’ of
2003-04, by going through an entire
Premier League season unbeaten
“Apart from the defeat at Watford, Arsenal
have won a lot of games,” said Guardiola.
“It’s complicated for us. We hope we can
recover well after the travel and the game in
Naples.
“It’s so tough when you have the
Champions League to consider.
“Arsenal played without their real squad on
Thursday (Europa League group game
against Red Star Belgrade), so they have
effectively rested for one week. We will lack
energy, so our fans will be important.”
City have scored 35 goals and conceded just
six in their 10 league games so far, winning
at Chelsea and thrashing Liverpool 5-0 in
the process, leaving many rival managers
wondering how they might be stopped.
Among the players to have impressed this
season is Raheem Sterling, the winger who
Arsenal wanted to sign in August, and who
might have been allowed to leave had City’s
attempt to sign Alexis Sanchez been
successful.
Sterling has not been a prolific scorer
during his short career, but has seven
Premier League goals already this season, a
total that only Tottenham’s Harry Kane can
better so far.
The winger has another three goals in the
Champions League to go with that,
including one during Wednesday’s win.
– ‘gamble and the risk’ –
Also among the goals in midweek was
Sergio Aguero, who finally became the
club’s all-time record scorer with his 178th
for City.
The Argentina international, who had
looked apprehensive as he got close to the
record, should now enjoy the opportunity
to relax in front of goal a little more.
Arsene Wenger has been encouraged by
Arsenal side’s recent run of form that had
seen them recover to win their previous
three games before Thursday’s scoreless
Europa League draw.
The visit to the Etihad Stadium, however,
presents an altogether more demanding
test and the Gunners manager knows his
side must improve their awful record at the
homes of the Premier League’s leading
teams if they are to be considered title
contenders.
The north London club last won at one of
the established top six when they beat City
in January 2015 and since then they have
picked up just six points from a possible 42
in 14 away trips.
“We will try to play our game. We will not
hide,” said Wenger.
“When we go there, we want to defend
well — but as well, you cannot go there and
be focused on only defending.
“We want as well to play, have the ball and
create dangerous situations. The best way
to defend sometimes is to attack.
“If you want to play football, when you walk
out on the pitch you have to accept the
gamble and the risk. It is part of the game.
“After, you have to rate the risk. Is it a
bigger risk only to defend than to attack if a
team is very strong to attack? Maybe it is a
bigger risk only to defend.”
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#2
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