Pep Guardiola believes City face one of their toughest tests of the early part of the season on Sunday against Arsenal. The champions travel to London to face Mikel Arteta’s side at the Emirates. The game will see the renewal of last season’s rivalry with City beating Arsenal to the Premier League title last season by 5 points.
Speaking in his press conference before the game, Pep Guardiola was aware of the challenge the treble winners faced. He explained: “To analyze contenders, the idea is the first 10 games. We haven’t played 10; we have to wait but big clubs are always contenders. Arsenal is back. When I was a young boy and starting as a manager at Barcelona. I know they fought Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team.”
Pep further explained: “Then for many years they were not there but now they’re back. It’s a contender yes and when you see in the calendar it says you go to the Emirates (you know) it’s a tougher one.”
Manchester City beat Arsenal three times last season on their way to the treble. They did the league double over Mikel Arteta’s side which was vital in overhauling the 8-point lead Arsenal had built last season. City also knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the Fourth Round on their way to securing the FA Cup.
Arsenal strengthened over the summer with the additions of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and David Raya in a bid to overtake Pep Guardiola’s side.
The European champions will have to be at their best to beat Arsenal on Sunday. They will be without Rodri who is suspended and Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones through injury. City will have confidence knowing their good recent record over the Gunners.