Manchester City boss Guardiola defends his tactics after miserable Christmas

Arnold Nichols
December 30, 2018

Liverpool's pressure did not subside after half-time and Firmino completed his treble from the spot 25 minutes from time, rounding off a miserable day for the Gunners and increasing the heat on Manchester City ahead of their meeting with Southampton on Sunday.

Unai Emery refused to point the finger of blame at referee Michael Oliver following two contentious penalty calls in Arsenal's 5-1 thrashing by Liverpool.

"I'm not the smartest person in the world but I'm really not an idiot - not always, at least".

"Also [Alex] Iwobi, after some matches not playing very well, today he played 90 minutes with a good performance, but defensively we need to be stronger, to work. Did you think the party started already?" he added.

"In the moment it feels like a marathon what we are running". Before the marathon: the weather is brilliant, new trainers, new shirt, new everything.

Liverpool bounced back in emphatic style to going behind in the 11th minute in another statement of intent as the team marches toward a first league title since 1990, and its 19th overall. All the other departments we were a bit random, I would say. We have to run.

The Gunners have looked solid enough when they have their best defensive unit fit and available.

Salah gave up penalty duties to allow Firmino to become the third Brazilian player to score a hat-trick in the league, after Robinho and Afonso Alves.

Still the visitors had not learned their lesson and when Alisson Becker brilliantly picked out Firmino on the right wing with a low, fizzing pass he released Salah into the area and Sokratis brought him down.

"2018 ends with a Christmas present from Mo Salah".

"Oh, I was waiting for that question", he said. "I know the quality they have".

"It was one of the nicest things I've ever seen in my life, just outstanding".

Successive defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester in the league were significant setbacks, with Guardiola suggesting that he and his players had to work harder to tackle the strengths of their opponents. The Reds top the standings halfway through the season, and a win over Arsenal would maintain their six-point lead over the nearest rivals, if not extend it further.

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