Pep Guardiola claims Man City’s FA Cup win over Arsenal will have no bearing on the title race


Pep Guardiola could celebrate victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup on Friday night but dismissed suggestions Manchester City’s 1-0 win will have any impact on the Premier League title race.

Nathan Ake’s 64th-minute goal saw City through to the fourth round of the cup but they had to battle as Guardiola admitted the tactics employed by his former assistant Mikel Arteta surprised him as Arsenal’s man-to-man marking interrupted City’s flow.

‘It was a tight game, a difficult opponent,’ Guardiola said. ‘The second half was better apart from 10 minutes after the goal.

‘I didn’t expect this approach, the man-to-man. It made the process difficult. In the second half we had to contact more than usual with Erling (Haaland), it is what we had to do. But it is a victory, the next round, we will see what we have to do.’

City consistently went long with their distribution, particularly in the first half, as they tried to bypass Arsenal’s press. But that did not play to Haaland’s strengths as he struggled to hold up the ball, and it was Arsenal who had the better chances before the break.

The introduction of Julian Alvarez, along with Kyle Walker, just before the hour, proved a turning point as City found a way through. Ake’s goal came after the Argentinian’s shot from range came back off a post, with Jack Grealish retrieving the ball to set up Ake.

City, who trail Arsenal by five points in the Premier League, head to the Emirates on February 15 but Guardiola said he did not think this result will have any bearing.

‘I am pretty sure both teams are going to adjust something,’ he said. ‘I have the feeling now they are going to do something differently.’


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