Man City coach Pep Guardiola: My team could never emulate Arsene Wenger's Arsenal

PEP GUARDIOLA dismissed the notion that Manchester City could emulate Arsenal’s “Invincibles” by remaining unbeaten throughout the Premier League season.

Posted Monday, October 23, 2017 by

Man City coach Pep Guardiola: My team could never emulate Arsene Wenger's Arsenal
Pep Guardiola has played down his Man City squad's chances of going unbeaten

It is difficult to see anyone stopping City such is their irresistible current form – this win over Burnley set a new club record of 11 straight wins in all competitions in a single season.

But Guardiola is now well aware of the unrelenting competitiveness and physical demands of the Premier League with the surprise defeat of Manchester United at Huddersfield on Saturday, plus Chelsea's at basement club Crystal Palace a week earlier underlining his point.

"If you ask me if we can finish the season unbeaten I say that cannot happen," he said. "To have this kind of statistic is ridiculous because football today is so demanding.

"We know that when we don't play good we are going to lose games. It doesn't make any difference if the other team is not in the top five or six, any team can beat us.

"There are a lot of games, a lot of competitions and we have to focus every three days, but there will be a moment when we go down.

"At the moment I'm curious to test myself and the players on how we react to that because some times we must be warriors."

Guardiola has not forgotten that there was similar fanciful talk when City started his tenure with 10 straight wins last season – then promptly went six without a victory and never regained the same consistency.

But there is greater resilience to City this season. Burnley gave them arguably their toughest fight yet and were in the game until Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane bagged two in two minutes late on.

Clarets manager Sean Dyche thinks City have improved, not so much in their attacking play, but in the way they recover the ball so quickly – and compared them to Guardiola's Barcelona team during his spell at the Nou Camp between 2008-2012.

"The way they work collectively without the ball has improved," said Dyche.

"They ‘crunch' the pitch. The back line is brave and gets higher. They've done that better.

"If you look at videos of Barcelona seven or eight years ago, they did that very effectively.

"As soon as they lost the ball, [Carles] Puyol and [Gerard] Pique crunch the pitch really sharp, which meant the opposition have got less room to play in.

"They win it back and, guess what, they are higher up the pitch and now their technicians can go and work. I think it's the nitty-gritty side of the game they're doing better at the moment. That's the biggest change."

It took a controversial penalty however to break Burnley's resistance. Keeper Nick Pope did make minimal contact with Benjmain Mendy but the City player's theatrical dive did him no favours.

Aguero slotted the spot kick to draw level on 177 goals with pre-war hero Eric Brook as City's record goal scorer.

And Guardiola suggested he Argentina striker will get the chance to claim the record for himself by playing him against Wolves in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

City had to wait until the 73rd minute to make the game safe, Sane providing the corner for Otamendi's thumping header before Kevin De Bruyne, inevitably, laid on the third which Sane took in some style.

But for Pope's heroics, City could have had more and the scary thing for the rest of the Premier League is that Guardiola was able to leave in-form pair Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling out of his starting XI.

Dyche, who is approaching his fifth anniversary as Clarets boss, has been linked with the Leicester job but defender Ben Mee is hoping he stays. "He has been linked with jobs four or five times recently because he's doing such a good job here.

"He's bound to get some attention, that's the way it goes. But we want to keep growing and his mentality and focus is a strength for us.".

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