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"It was about the wine!" | Guardiola ready for former sidekick

On Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola will be reunited with Mikel Arteta on the Etihad touchline but thi...
Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

7:21 PM - 16 Jun 2020



Sport

"It was about the wine!" | Guardiola ready for former sidekick

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

7:21 PM - 16 Jun 2020



On Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola will be reunited with Mikel Arteta on the Etihad touchline but this time they will be in opposing dugouts.

The clash of Manchester City and Arsenal will be broadcast live on OTB Sports Radio and on Off The Ball on Newstalk - with Nathan Murphy and Brian Kerr on the microphone.

City are holding on to the Premier League trophy with their fingernails on the eve of the season's restart and a defeat to Arteta's Arsenal will give Liverpool the chance to snatch it from the reigning champions on Sunday.

Guardiola's two league title wins as manager of City were achieved with Arteta as his assistant before the latter took the top job with the Gunners last December.

"I'm so excited to see him again. He's one of the nicest people I have ever met," gushed Guardiola ahead of the game.

"It was a joy for me to work with him and I get the feeling he is happy there and doing an incredible job."

Surely there must be some concern that Arteta's insider knowledge of how City play is a concern?

"He knows, I know, as many secrets that we have - he won't be playing and I will not play," said Guardiola.

"This game belongs to the players. We can suggest some things but in the end the players make the difference.

"If the Arsenal players are better they will beat us. If our players are better, we will beat them.

"In the end, this game belongs to them."

One of those players, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker, landed himself in hot water with the club during the UK government's lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

It was reported in April that Walker broke quarantine rules by hosting a party with two sex workers.

The England international then wrote to supporters to apologise after he defied the rules for a second time in May.

The City boss was happy with how Walker handled the fallout himself.

"I judge my players by what happens on the pitch," said Guardiola.

"I think Kyle made a brave statement about what happened in this period and the club spoke with him.

"What I want is the best for him and especially his family.

"His wife, his kids, his parents, that is what we want.

"The human being is always put first before the football player and I think Kyle expressed his thoughts in his statement."

In March, when City were gearing up for the original fixture date to face Arsenal and the pandemic had yet to force the lockdown around Europe, it was suggested that it would be played behind closed doors.

Guardiola wasn't too keen on the idea at the time but he was quick to defend himself as they prepare to play without supporters watching on Wednesday night.

"When I made those comments, nobody expected what has happened," said Guardiola.

"Not even the doctors or the best scientists in the world could expect what happened.

"The reality is that people's health is the most important thing.

"The Premier League, like in Spain and Germany but not in France, Belgium or Holland, decide that we have to play.

"We are going to play and we have to adapt quickly.

"As a team, as players, as human beings, the quicker we adapt the better it will be."

The former Barcelona boss will also have to adapt to the new post-match formalities.

"It was about the wine we are going to drink after the game!" he responded when asked about the text message he received from Arteta on Tuesday.

"Social distancing will allow us."



Read more about

Arsenal Manchester City Mikel Arteta Pep Guardiola Premier League

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