Pep Guardiola didn’t expect Mikel Arteta to tell his Arsenal players to go man-for-man in their FA Cup fourth round fixture at the Etihad but played down the importance of the game on the forthcoming league fixtures between the title rivals.
Arsenal man-marked all over the pitch and the approach caused City problems in what was turned into a low-key affair, settled by Nathan Ake’s second-half goal.
City have faced man-for-man tactics before and two weeks ago Manchester United took the same approach against the Blues midfield at Old Trafford.
Guardiola might have thought he knew what to expect from Arteta, however, having had the Arsenal manager as an assistant for three years until December 2019, but the tactics still took him by surprise.
Guardiola doesn’t expect the game to have too much bearing on the league meetings, the first of which comes in less than three weeks, but admits he will at least be aware of the possibility of a man-to-man marking scheme.
When asked if City were coming up against a man-for-man approach more often this season, Guardiola suggested his team knew what they had to do to negate such tactics.