Despite winning the Premier League last season, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal are in a better position to win the Community Shield than his Cityzens.
Arsenal and Manchester City will clash once more, this time for the Community Shield in the first attempt to win silverware in the 2023/24 season, and Guardiola believes the Gunners are in a better position to take the shield.
Manchester City beat Arsenal three times last season on their route to a record treble, but Guardiola feels they will struggle to repeat the feat when the two sides meet to kick off the 2023/24 Premier League season.
Speaking ahead of the Community Shield match, Guardiola speculated that a lack of rest for the Cityzens and the Gunners’ excellent summer recruitment means that Arsenal should be seen as the favourites for their upcoming duel.
Guardiola told reporters, “The situation that we are in, we finished [last season] two weeks later than Arsenal and we start [this season] two weeks later. So, we are not in the best way.”
“We struggle to restart every season but it’s fine, and hopefully our mentality can help us to be there and compete.”
He also praised Arsenal’s recent recruitment, saying he was not surprised by how much quality Arsenal have been able to get through the door, starting with England midfielder Declan Rice who was also a target for Manchester City.
“Rice decided to go to Arsenal, I wish him all the best.” Guardiola said, continuing, “He is a really nice guy, for the England team, he is important. Arsenal have bought a really good player.”
“They didn’t buy players to make the squad bigger, they have bought starting players. I could not expect anything different.”
Despite viewing Arsenal as favourites, Guardiola will still hope his side can push past the Gunners to start the new season in the same fashion that they ended last season.