Though it wasn’t one of those flattering scorelines, Pep Guardiola showed once again he has the magic wand when it comes to beating Arsenal.
While the Gunners are undefeated in all competitions since the end of October, they were brought down-to-earth Friday night at the Etihad.
Quite surprisingly, the Citizens had lost four successive games against the Gunners in the FA Cup before finally breaking that jinx on Friday.
With Friday’s 1-0 win in the Fourth Round FA Cup clash at the Etihad, Guardiola has now won more games against Arsenal (18) than any other club in his managerial career.
Fulfilling as that may sound, Guardiola will be keen to hit 20 wins against the Gunners this season as a doubleheader is still on the cards in the Premier League between both sides.
If that is achieved, the Premier League title race would have swung in favour of the Spaniard who is eyeing an astonishing fifth EPL diadem with the Citizens.
For this latest win over Arsenal, Nathan Ake was the hero for City; keeping Bukayo Saka quiet and getting the all-important goal that ensured his team progresses into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.
Hard as Arsenal tried, they couldn’t find a response despite throwing on a number of their heavy hitters late on into the game.
For Guardiola and Mikel Arteta, the game was definitely different.
Arteta, while speaking to ITV, didn’t hide his disappointment even though he believes there are positives to take from the slim loss.
He said: “We’re disappointed. We could’ve got much more from the game but an action decided a game that was really tight and competitive. Unfortunately, we are out.
“We had quite a lot of control in the second half and we had big situations we didn’t put them away and in those games, you need to do that.
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“We can take a lot of positives. I think the way we approached the game and the way we competed in the game was really good because it’s very tough to do that against this incredible team and we played face-to-face with them.”
On what Arsenal can learn from this game ahead of their Premier League meeting in 20 days, Arteta replied: “In the big moments in big matches you have to make the difference and that’s how you win against these teams.”
For Guardiola, he was full of praise for Ake who he described as every manager’s delight.
“As a manager, you become a manager to have players like Nathan so he deserves all the good things in life, in his profession and in his job,” the City manager told ITV.
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