Pep Guardiola has wasted no time engaging in mind games with Arsenal in anticipation of their Community Shield showdown.
In the previous Premier League season, the Gunners engaged in a fierce battle with Manchester City for the title, but Mikel Arteta’s squad ultimately fell short, trailing the Sky Blues by a margin of five points.
This Sunday, the two teams will once again lock horns in the Community Shield, each vying for a psychological edge as they step into the 2023/24 campaign.
Although the match is often considered a mere prelude to the upcoming season, the stakes are significant for the Gunners, who are determined to avenge their prior defeat to City and secure their first trophy of the season.
🗣️ “We start two weeks later than Arsenal so we are not in the best way.”
Pep Guardiola says Arsenal are in a better place physically than Manchester City at this stage. pic.twitter.com/xA5fsJK2JV
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 4, 2023
However, Guardiola has already started the ‘mind games’, insisting that his side are far less prepared for the contest than Arsenal.
“We know the situation we are in right now,” the Spaniard told reporters on Friday (quotes viaFootball Daily). “We finish 2 weeks later than Arsenal and we start two weeks later than Arsenal so we are not in the best way.
“But hopefully our mentality will help us be there and compete like we have to compete against them and try to win the title.”
Due to Manchester City’s participation in the Champions League final, they were late to start pre-season, unlike Arsenal who were afforded 2 weeks’ extra preparation.
Although some fans may consider Guardiola’s comments as simple mind games, with the 52-year-old accused of something similar ahead of City’s title-defining clash against Arsenal last April, when he admitted he was ‘nervous’.
Speaking on Friday, Guardiola also spoke of his side’s hunger, questioning if the players had the desire to defend what they won last term.
“You cannot win more than we won – it’s impossible. But the challenge is how hungry we are and if we still have the desire to defend what we won.
“We will see during the next 11 months, particularly during the lower moments – and we will have more of them than ever – how we can overcome.”