Guardiola impressed with Arsenal as City extend record run

Narrow win at Arsenal sees City claim their 18 consecutive victory to go 10 points clear

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: ‘The record will be broken one day, we will lose games.’ Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: ‘The record will be broken one day, we will lose games.’ Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire

 

Pep Guardiola admitted he is “surprised and impressed” by Manchester City’s record-breaking winning run, which they extended with a narrow victory at Arsenal on Sunday.

City remain 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to Raheem Sterling’s goal inside the first two minutes, although the scoreline did not reflect their superiority over opponents who struggled to build up attacking momentum. It means they have now won 18 straight matches in all competitions, extending the record they set at Swansea three games previously; Guardiola played down the feat’s importance but said he had not seen it coming.

“The record will be broken one day, we will lose games,” he said. “I’m surprised and impressed when everyone is suffering in this world, what is happening today, everyone is dropping points, and we were consistent for the last two months.

“We cannot forget that we won at Anfield, against Tottenham, at Goodison Park and here: three incredibly tough games in this period. That’s why I’m more than pleased to win just 1-0. People talk and talk about the records but to do this you have to win this type of game many, many, many times.”

Prepare

City face Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League round of 16 first leg on Wednesday, a tie that will be played in Budapest due to Covid-19 rules, and host West Ham three days later for the first of four straight Premier League home games. Their hot streak includes 13 consecutive top-flight wins but Guardiola believes he will need to fully utilise his squad if they are to take the title.

“We have to rotate the team and we will have to do it again and again,” he said. “We don’t have time for anything: just to recover and prepare, mentally, as strong a team as possible. But of course we cannot deny, it is 39 points to play, 10 in front, and we need the victories to be champions.”

The 35-year-old club captain, Fernandinho, was given his first start in six games in central midfield. “What a game, what a game,” Guardiola proclaimed of the Brazilian’s outstanding performance. “He’s an incredible person, captain and incredible player.”

Guardiola was customarily generous in praising his opposite number and former assistant, Mikel Arteta, who he said “knows everything about football”. Arteta’s team improved after such a catastrophic start but only managed one shot on target. The Arsenal manager was left to lament the early errors that brought a third defeat in four league fixtures. “To start the way we did, conceding the goal and the way we did it, you have to be exceptional in the rest of the game,” he said.

Arteta will switch Arsenal’s attentions to their Europa League round of 32 second-leg with Benfica on Thursday and described that match, to be contested in Athens, as a “final”.

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