April 23, 2024

Manchester City defeated Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday evening.

Nathan Ake believes Pep Guardiola pulled off a managerial coup at Manchester City earlier this month when he called out his team’s underperforming players in a scathing rant. The defending Premier League champions defeated table-toppers Arsenal in the FA Cup on Friday evening, with Ake scoring the game-winning goal after being set up inside the area by Jack Grealish.

The result will have given City more confidence that they can catch Arsenal in the Premier League between now and the end of the season, with the two sides set to meet again next month and in April. Guardiola accused his players of lacking ‘passion, fire, and desire’ following their victory over Tottenham earlier this month, a wake-up call that Ake attributes to City’s recent prolific form.

“Obviously he said it for a reason,” the Dutch defender explained. “Maybe it did dip a little, but we’ve shown in recent games that we want to try, that we want to compete, and we did it again against Arsenal.

“We want to make certain that we will continue to fight for everything. That’s all we can do as a team and as a club. ‘OK, we need to improve,’ we reasoned. He’s been in the game for a long time and has seen everything, so he’s probably correct.

“He’s been to the best clubs in the world, and he probably did it to wake us up. It was necessary, and we hope to keep it going now. The only thing we can do as a group is fighting back and demonstrate to everyone, including ourselves, that we still have that fight and hunger. It’s just good for us to keep going.

“We have to keep it going, not just now but for the whole season. We can’t let it drop or go through a period like that again. We must now ensure that we continue. We’ve had a rude awakening and must ensure that this is the end of the road.”

Arsenal currently leads City by five points in the Premier League table, despite having played an extra game, and have emerged as the surprise favorites to win their first title since 2004 at the end of the season. However, two victories for City over Arsenal later in the season would turn the situation on its head, and Ake is confident that his team will catch up in the coming weeks.

“We just have to keep our eyes on ourselves,” Ake added. “As long as we do our thing, game by game, trying to win each one. Arsenal is doing so well this season, but we still have to play them twice, so it’s really up to us.

“We saw last year when we played them in January that they’re a top team. They were already looking strong, and it was difficult to compete with them. They demonstrated once more, pressing us extremely hard, making it difficult to play out. So it’s difficult to play against them because they are a top team that is doing exceptionally well.

“Obviously, it will be a completely different game when we play them again in a couple of weeks, but it’s always good to win, especially against a team like Arsenal, and it can only help us.”

 

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