Guardiola prepared for the ultimate finale: 'Arsenal does not lose'

"I have the feeling it will be like against Aston Villa again." Two years ago, Manchester City had to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win the championship on the final day. Manager Pep Guardiola thinks a similar scenario is possible on Sunday.

Guardiola prepared for the ultimate finale: 'Arsenal does not lose' Embed from Getty Images

At his press conference, Guardiola ventured a prediction. "We want to be 3-0 up after ten minutes, but that's not going to happen," he said in the run-up to the final matchday. "I have seen them (West Ham United) work enough. Those eleven from West Ham will be ready to beat us. Just like Aston Villa two years ago, who had nothing left to play for."

Two years ago, Aston Villa led 0-2 at the Etihad Stadium with fifteen minutes to go, after which two goals from Ilkay Gündogan and one from Rodri still secured a league title for Man City – leaving Liverpool empty-handed. Guardiola drew on this experience to emphasize the unpredictable nature of the final matchday and the importance of maintaining focus and composure.

Now, Arsenal is the competitor. Guardiola's friend Mikel Arteta's team plays at home simultaneously, but according to him, Man City doesn't need to worry about that. "I have told the players that our fate is in our own hands. If you think Everton is going to pull off something (at Arsenal), forget it. That's not going to happen."

Man City put themselves in pole position by winning against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday. However, there was no sense of relief, Guardiola said. "I think they sensed that perfectly in the dressing room. They were relieved, but it wasn't celebrated excessively. They were happy but incredibly calm. It was nothing more special than another match."

Guardiola's comments reflect a clear focus on the task at hand. He emphasized that the players must maintain their professionalism and concentration despite the high stakes. The message is clear: Man City must approach the final match with the same determination and discipline that has brought them to this point.

The manager also highlighted the formidable challenge posed by West Ham. Despite having nothing left to play for, teams like West Ham can be particularly dangerous, as they play with freedom and without pressure. Guardiola’s acknowledgment of this underscores the importance of not underestimating their opponents.

Moreover, Guardiola’s remarks about Arsenal and Everton underline his belief that Man City’s destiny is within their control. By not relying on other results, the team is encouraged to focus solely on their performance.

As the final day approaches, the tension and excitement build. Guardiola’s experienced leadership will be crucial in guiding his team through what promises to be a dramatic conclusion to the season. His calm demeanor and strategic insights aim to ensure that Man City remains focused and poised to secure the title.

The match against West Ham will be a test of character and resolve, and Guardiola's confidence in his squad's ability to handle the pressure will be put to the ultimate test. As fans eagerly await the final whistle, the anticipation of potential triumph or heartbreak is palpable. The stakes could not be higher, and the outcome will be a defining moment in the club's history.

Updated: 02:50, 17 May 2024

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