Premier League: Pep Guardiola laments Rodri absence after Arsenal defeat

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Rodri’s absence was a factor in Manchester City’s defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The 27-year-old served the final game of his three-game suspension on Sunday, having been given a straight red during recent 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in September.

Without their talismanic holding midfielder in their last three domestic games, Man City have actually suffered their first three defeats of the season to Newcastle United, Wolves and Arsenal respectively in both the Carabao Cup and the Premier League.

The Premier League defeat to Arsenal was the most damaging of the three suffered in quick succession, with City dropping down to third in the league table heading into the international break as a result.

Speaking after the game to Sky Sports and BBC Sport after the game, manager Guardiola admitted that Rodri’s absence was felt in the loss on Sunday: “Rodri is an important player but he is not there for the reason everyone knows and we have to move forward. Every game is completely different.

“That is a stat [three defeats in three games without Rodri] we cannot deny it. But we put players to control more passes but they [Arsenal] are aggressive in these areas. We will come back and continue. We will move forward.”

Assessing the game, Guardiola was also keen to emphasise the fact that Arsenal’s single goal, scored by Gabriel Martinelli in the 86th minute, deflected fortunately off Nathan Ake and into the back of the net: “That game, we started really well with two or three chances. They started the second half really well with the rhythm. The it was tight and they got a deflection goal.

“They won, congratulations to them. We tried. We did it. I think from both sides there was not a lot of chances. I think both teams did good high pressing. It was tight and in the end, one action, we lost the game.

“Ten minutes was like that [Arsenal on top] and after it was equal. We had also our moments but in general it was a tight game. Unfortunately they did it.”

Rodri will return to domestic action for Man City after the international break when his side face off against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium.

What we know

  • Man City were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal on Sunday
  • City have lost three domestic games in a row since Rodri was suspended for a red card
  • Guardiola has discussed Rodri’s absence.

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