GUARDIOLA RESPECTS ARSENAL ON THE PITCH BUT NOT OFF IT
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has taken a swipe at Arsenal by disclosing that he respects the club on the pitch but not off the pitch. This is the latest in events since the Citizens' appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a two-year European suspension was successful.
Manchester City believe that Arsenal were the prime movers behind a joint letter that was sent by eight Premier League clubs to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, stating that any attempt by City to delay a UEFA ban whilst the appeal was ongoing should be dismissed.
However, CAS exonerated Manchester City last week and the fears by the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United, Leicester, and Burnley didn't materialize. However, their actions have displeased Guardiola.
It can be recalled that he lashed out at his rivals last week, asking them to voice any concerns directly to his club instead of going behind their back. He returned to the issue yesterday in an interview ahead of Tuesday's game against Watford and the final day's visit of Norwich. He took the opportunity to aim a dig at Arsenal after their 2 nil FA Cup semi-final loss against the Gunners.
"Watford and Norwich can beat us but I want us to be who we are," the City manager said.
"I said after Arsenal, we didn't play in the first half like the second. That was the only regret. But after we were beaten we shake hands.
"The opponents always deserve my respect and credit. And Arsenal, I have all the respect for what they are on the pitch. Not much off the pitch, but on the pitch, a lot."
"Congratulations to them and good luck in the final."
Meanwhile, CAS is due to publish its full written findings on the case this week as long as there are no objections by Man City or UEFA.
With recent proceedings, I don't see any objections from either oaty but who will be willing to bet against it? Anyway, fans who want where to make their stakes can visit Casimba for exciting casino gaming offers. The Citizens will turn their attention to the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 against Real Madrid at the Etihad on August 7.
Guardiola has close to a fortnight to make preparations for the game and revealed that he would carefully observe Real Madrid's performances since the restart of the game, including all their games without Sergio Ramos this season as the defender will play no part in the game after receiving a red card in the first leg.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta wants the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be resolved quickly at Arsenal. It is believed that their spending will be determined by if they qualify for the Europa League by beating Chelsea in the final of the FA Cup.
Aubameyang who put Man City to the sword with a brace at Wembley is in the final year of his Arsenal contract. The Gabon international has been impressive under Mikel Arteta and has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season.
It is believed that the outcome of Arsenal's next three games will determine the offer that the 31-year-old will receive.