After what seemed like a year long international break, Manchester City are back in Premier League action as they welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s Gunners dumped the Blues out of the FA Cup the last time the two sides met and Pep Guardiola will be hunting for revenge this time out.
Here’s what the boss had to say when he faced the media before this one…
De Bruyne out but Agüero is back
With all the injury concerns in recent days, Pep Guardiola has today confirmed Kevin De Bruyne will not be involved this weekend. However, in more positive news, Sergio Agüero has been in full training with the side for a while now and is likely to feature.
“Everyone came back a little bit better than the previous time because then Cancelo, Bernardo and others were injured and couldn’t play the beginning of the season. Kevin is out unfortunately but the rest of the players came back well.”
“I don’t think [Kevin’s injury] is much but he will be out for the next games. Sergio is training well and we are happy. Every team needs a striker. He has been training good and we’re happy to see him back on the pitch after a long time.”
Pep Guardiola ‘not taking a risk’ with Jesus
Another injury concern for Manchester City is the one picked up by Gabriel Jesus in the opening game of the season. Guardiola has today ruled the forward out of this weekends game and has no idea on the timescale of his return.
“There is some injury in muscles that you can take a risk with, but there are others you cannot. Gabriel has an injury in the front part of his leg, if he aggravates this we will lose him for a long time.”
Guardiola enjoying the Premier League raining goals
There have been some freak results as of late – Manchester United losing 6-1 at home to Tottenham, and the reigning champions Liverpool losing 7-2 away at Aston Villa. The Premier League is on course to surpass the record for most goals scored, and Pep Guardiola certainly isn’t complaining:
“In the beginning of the season, teams had more courage to play and step by step I think people will take care a little bit more. Hopefully for football, it will continue like this to see a lot of goals but it is exceptional.”
“I suppose 6, 7, 8, goals per game is not normal. Maybe I’m wrong and it is going to happen but I think it will settle. There are a lot of injuries and many games in a short time so that’s why it will be difficult to know what is going on.”
Bernardo and Cancelo ready for action
Yes, there’s yet more fitness news for you. Both Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo are back 100% and ready for action against Arsenal. The latter hasn’t kicked a ball for Manchester City so far this season, but gained valuable minutes in a Portugal shirt over the past week.
“I never complain about the international games. I know how important it is for the players for their own countries, it is an honour and a privilege. UEFA and FIFA defend their own tournaments. We always want the players to come back fit.”
“Sometimes they get injured with us. Players are injured because we demand so much of them after tough seasons. Bernardo and the other players, Joao, could not have a normal pre-season and these games were really good for them.”
Master vs Apprentice – Part Three
It’s Pep Guardiola vs Mikel Arteta, part three this weekend – with the scores tied at one win a piece. It will certainly be an interesting tactical battle and Pep Guardiola, of course, had nothing but praise for his former assistant:
“We should clarify who is the master, who is the apprentice. We didn’t have any doubts about what he is doing in a short period. He settled really well, the way his team is playing right now is perfect for the quality they have.”
“He was able to get Arsenal back to the position they were a long time ago. He’s doing really well in all competitions and Mikel is a competitor and a fighter and all the people who love him are more than happy with what he is doing in London.”
Pep on Project Big Picture
With the news emerging this week that all 20 Premier League sides decided to unanimously reject ‘Project Big Picture’, Pep Guardiola has today expressed his stance on the issue and the plans themselves.
“I want the best for football. I don’t have an opinion, because I didn’t listen to the hypothetical suggestions. I don’t know honestly what is the situation.”
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