Pep Guardiola makes glaring error before pivotal Tottenham clash amid Arsenal transfer statement

By Staff

Pep Guardiola has often deployed some mind game tactics in his press conferences and the last one ahead of Manchester City’s pivotal clash with Tottenham, which has broader implications for Arsenal in the title race, was another classic example. The Spaniard took aim at Arsenal’s spending, a regular retort of the City boss when prompted with questions over his side’s own spending.

So often will Guardiola point to the spending of other sides and that is exactly what he did this time. Usually, it is a response to a race with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, but with Arsenal, a now established opponent for the title they have now too come into the frame.

“Before do you know what it was? It was the money [that won titles]. For that reason why: Man United should have won all the titles. All of them. And the second, Chelsea all the titles. And the third Arsenal… all the titles. They spent as much money in the last five years as us. They should be there. They are not there,” he said.

“For that reason, Girona shouldn’t be in the Champions League, and Leicester shouldn’t win the Premier League years ago. Now it’s boring? It’s not boring. It’s so difficult to be here again and we want to win it.

“But to do something that in this country no team has done it, you have to do something special, exceptional, I would say. It has not happened in the Premier League ever and we have to do it this time. History is in front of us and we have to accept that we have not done it; it is the time to do it. Otherwise, Arsenal will be champions.”

What is both clever and misleading about what Guardiola likes to say is to talk about net spending whilst restricting the measurement of spending to a specific time frame, often as he does here, to five years. In reality, since Guardiola took over City in 2016 nearly eight years ago Arsenal have spent around £1billion gross on players.

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Compare that to Manchester City’s spending in the same period and it is around £300million more. Not only that but Arteta came in three years after Guardiola and had to rip up the entire side, keeping a handful of young stars and accepting considerable losses with contract terminations in order to best streamline the side’s restructuring.

Guardiola arrived at Manchester City and inherited a squad which contained Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Fernandinho and others. I could list more who were far better than the players Arteta inherited too.

In fact, I will. Pablo Zabaleta, Raheem Sterling, Jesus Navas, Nicolas Otamendi and Aleksandar Kolarov. Arteta won the FA Cup with what was initially a broken squad, beating a much improved Man City side in 2020 by that time in the semi-finals and has pushed on since – beating them at the Emirates Stadium this season and ending their 57-game goalscoring run at the Etihad Stadium too.

Guardiola may want to reference the spending Arsenal have done in recent years, which from a club perspective is record-breaking but, with respect, so what? That is exactly what needs to happen in order for a side to try to match the billions that have been invested into City since their takeover in 2008.

It is easy to confine assessments to specific time frames to fit the point and make the argument and Guardiola does it very well. The reality when taken in the full context, however, is very different and the treble-winning manager’s arguments fall away.

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