Pep Guardiola will not definitely leave Manchester City at the end of his contract, but the club have turned down the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Guardiola seemingly declared that he next two years would be his last at the Etihad Stadium this week when speaking at an XP Investimentos event. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach spoke of his desire to coach a national team.
However, ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Arsenal, Guardiola insisted that he merely meant he would take a break whenever his City tenure does end.
“I’m not thinking to leave after two years. I can leave in two months if the results are not good, I can leave in three months like I can leave in five years,” said Guardiola.
“After my period at Man City I will take a break, that’s for sure. It can be in one month, two years, in three years, four years or five years.
“Right now I don’t have reasons to leave, and in two years I am not thinking I will leave Manchester City. I’m more than committed.
“When I am finished, I will take a rest for a little bit because almost 12, 13 years without much of a stop. After that, maybe a new team after the break, or will be a national team if someone wants me. But I did not say in two years I will finish my period in Manchester City.”
After the news conference, reports claimed City had withdrawn their interest in Ronaldo, who is seemingly heading back to Manchester United.
Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, knows how important getting a result could be for his Arsenal team on Saturday.
“It will be great. It will be a massive lift to go up to Manchester, against the champions, and get the win. It will change the narrative a lot. It will help us in the table for sure because we need the points. That will be the game to take (them),” he said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester City – Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has been involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Arsenal (5 goals, 2 assists), netting in each of his last four against the Gunners including the only goal in both meetings last term.
Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be hoping his hat-trick against West Brom in midweek sets him up for a return to form this season, after a below par 2020-21.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– City’s Ruben Dias (72) and Jack Grealish (60) have made more ball carries than any other players in the Premier League so far this season, while Grealish has carried the ball further than anyone else so far (739 metres).
– Arsenal have had 28 shots in their two Premier League games this season, but have an expected goals total of just 1.54. Their xG-per-shot of just 0.06 is the joint-lowest in the division so far this season.
– City have won both of their last two Premier League home games by a 5-0 scoreline. In Premier League history, only Man City themselves (October 2017) and Chelsea (August 2010) have won three consecutive home games by 5+ goals before.
– City have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven league meetings with Arsenal, including the last four in a row since a 3-1 home win in February 2019.
– Arsenal have failed to score in their first three league games in just two of their previous 117 seasons, doing so in 1904-05 and 1953-54. However, they picked up at least one point in their opening three games in both of those campaigns.