Pep Guardiola admitted his side were “tired” and second best against Arsenal on New Year’s Day, but he was delighted to see Manchester City score a rare late goal.
City managed to extend their Premier League winning run to 11 games as Rodri scored in injury time to settle a heated contest against 10-man Arsenal. Guardiola’s side had not been at the races until they were awarded a penalty on 57 minutes. Riyad Mahrez converted to cancel out Bukayo Saka’s opener before Rodri struck in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 victory.
An ill-tempered affair had seen Gabriel Magalhaes sent off after being booked twice inside two minutes. Arsenal were impressive but were unable to hold on for a deserved point.
And City boss Guardiola admitted his squad, who has been hit by Covid-19, looked jaded.
“Just take a look at our bench, four players from the academy. We had many cases for Covid and injuries. Phil Foden… Kyle and Rodri were first days today from Covid time,” said Guardiola.
“In this period today we were incredibly tired. Arsenal were better today but football happens.
‘They were better’
“Congratulations, they were better. We face a team who struggled to be in top four and start the season at the bottom. Now they are in the top four.
“They had six or seven days since the last game at Norwich. We had two days since Brentford and come back and didn’t have a team. That’s why we put one more player in the middle.
“To have more control and passes. We know in the transitions with Saka and Martinelli, contact with Lacazette. Should be difficult and it was difficult, we didn’t have energy.
“We tried, in the second half, one minute changed with the penalty, one minute the own goal and the sending off. We try to analyse many things, sometimes the coin falls on your side sometimes the other side.
“And we know how it means to win at The Emirates at the moment and the good team they are. It was difficult and know we have time to rest.
“We are not a team to score a goal in 90 minutes or extra time, I don’t remember the last time. Maybe two or three seasons ago when Raheem puts the ball in the Southampton net. I don’t remember other…