Pep Guardiola fears Leeds as first game back for his side

‘I would have preferred another opponent’: Pep Guardiola fears Leeds as first Premier League game back for his Manchester City team as he bemoans his side’s January schedule amid widening gap with leaders Arsenal

  • Manchester City boss said Leeds were among worst opponents they could face
  • Pep Guardiola’s side travel to Elland Road bidding to close the gap with Arsenal
  • Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind to beat West Ham to extend gap at top 

Pep Guardiola is fearing several red flags as Arsenal firmly planted theirs at the Premier League’s summit.

Manchester City are eight points behind the leaders before travelling to Elland Road on Wednesday, with their manager admitting that he would rather not face Jesse Marsch’s lively Leeds United side straight after the World Cup.

Guardiola is also worried about a potentially ‘terrible’ January, with games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Pep Guardiola has said he would rather not face Leeds United as Manchester City’s first Premier League game back

City have catching up to do on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, who have dropped just five points this season after Boxing Day’s comeback victory over West Ham. City beat Leeds by an aggregate score of 11-0 last term but dropped four points against them in the 2020-21 season. As such, Guardiola has impressed on his players that they must be willing to go the extra mile tonight after losing ground with defeat by Brentford just before the World Cup.

‘I would have preferred another opponent than Leeds after the World Cup,’ said Guardiola. ‘They are the most aggressive team in the league, statistically.

‘They don’t give you time to think and you have to be precise, you have to be at a high level.

Leeds are among the most aggressive sides in the league – something Guardiola noted

The City boss said that Leeds are the ‘most aggressive’ team in the Premier League, ‘statistically’

‘After our defeat against Brentford, and with how strong Arsenal are, we have to be alert because if the distance is bigger, it will be so difficult to catch them.

‘Our schedule in January is terrible in terms of the number of games and the quality of the opponents.

‘We have to restart. This is what we have done against Liverpool last week (in the Carabao Cup) and hopefully we can continue.’

Guardiola said City are managing Erling Haaland through a foot injury sustained in October. The 24-goal striker has played four times since but was withdrawn early in last week’s win over Liverpool and a friendly against Girona. But he will be available to take on Leeds.

‘The doctor said Erling damaged his ligaments in his foot and it’s so painful,’ said Guardiola. ‘It’s not easy to recover, that’s why he struggled. Day by day he’s getting better. He can train and he will regain his condition.’

City are currently managing Erling Haaland through a foot injury the forward suffered in October

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