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Is Pep Guardiola Trying to Outsmart Mikel Arteta In Mind Games?

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Pep Guardiola’s mind games have already begun ahead of Arsenal and Manchester City’s FA Cup showdown.

Former assistant Mikel Arteta stated that the cup clash would have no bearing on their Premier League double-header in April, but Guardiola insisted that it will definitely influence next month’s meeting.

He said it was likely that “something” would have to change for their second encounter, with City possibly bringing in new players or altering their approach.

The City boss also praised Arteta and downplayed his own part in their success at the Etihad Stadium.

Previously, Guardiola mentioned that Arsenal would “destroy” City if they kept up the same performance level; but now he appears to be exerting pressure on them in order to best position himself for a win during the upcoming cup tie.

It could benefit City to play a full-strength side as that may give them an advantage when it comes to future league meetings, however, this is counterbalanced by the potential for Arteta to develop tactics that could keep the title away from Man City come April.

Phil Foden’s foot issue means he is unlikely to be included in the squad, though there are other alternatives such as Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez who are more than capable of replacing him.

Aleks Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus moved from Manchester to join Arsenal earlier this year, and although Zinchenko should get a warm reception upon joining his former club, Jesus will not make an appearance due to injury.

Finally, Sergio Gomez will be looking for minutes after being dropped against Wolves and Southampton following a poor showing at St Mary’s earlier this month – if he manages to impress during Friday’s game he could hold onto his spot going into future matches.

This article was updated 4 weeks ago

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