Do Arsenal now have enough depth to win the title?

From Mykhailo to Moises, to Trossard and Transfer Deadline Day. While Arsenal have remained unshaken on the pitch this season, their January window was much more turbulent.

For Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu, they have done all they can to prepare Arsenal for what looks like their biggest season run-in for a good decade or two.

Much has been made of how much the Gunners’ strength in depth can hinder them since they emerged as genuine title contenders last autumn, especially compared with reigning champions and fellow rivals Manchester City.

“The difference between Manchester City and Arsenal is that City can lose a few players and play exactly the same way and can afford to rotate,” said Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards in October.

“If Arsenal lose an Oleksandr Zinchenko or a Thomas Partey, all of a sudden they become a different team.”

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So Arsenal weaved between transfer targets this month and eventually brought three new players in. A new spine to add to their young squad of players.

Now they turn their attention back to the on-pitch matters – but, alongside their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League, do they now have enough to hold off Manchester City and strive for the title?

A summary of Arsenal’s window

Mykhailo Mudryk in action off the bench for Chelsea at Anfield
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Arsenal lost out on Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea

Arsenal’s transfer policy has been clear for some time under Mikel Arteta – there has been the tendency to sign younger but experienced players aged 24 and under and develop them into their prime years.

The start of the Gunners’ window showed that was the plan once again. Their interests this month can be split into two: attacker Mykhailo Mudryk was their No 1 target in part one – alongside a brief interest in Joao Felix – while Brighton’s Moises Caicedo dominated the talk in the final two weeks.

But missing out on those two long-term investments forced the Gunners to change their plans.

Moises Caicedo playing against Arsenal for Brighton earlier this season
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The Gunners were unable to bring Brighton’s Moises Caicedo to the club

Both Leandro Trossard and Jorginho, aged 28 and 31 respectively, are slightly above the age profile Arsenal normally aim for – but given the context of Arsenal’s season, both acquisitions may look like sensible buys.

Both are experienced in Premier League football so need little time to settle into Arsenal’s season – which could see them strive towards a first Premier League title in 18 years.

But just because those two arrivals are quick easy fixes to transfer disappointments, does not mean they are short-term stabs in the dark.

After the announcement of Trossard, Arteta was keen to stress how his assistant Albert Stuivenberg managed the Belgian attacker at Genk and his No 2 gave him positive character references in both this transfer window and in years gone by.

Leandro Trossard awaits his full Arsenal debut
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Leandro Trossard was Arsenal’s first arrival of the winter for £27m

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Arteta’s long-term interest in Jorginho is well-known. The Gunners boss was assistant at Man City when the Italian midfielder was torn between the current champions and Chelsea. Arteta then tried to go back for Jorginho in October 2020 but the move fell through again.

The other January arrival saw 22-year-old Jakub Kiwior come in from Spezia – an important acquisition given the amount of minutes first-choice defender Gabriel has faced this season.

The Brazilian centre-back has played in every Premier League minute for Arsenal this season, while he has also been ever-present in all competitions for the club since the World Cup break. Competition for him was paramount and Arsenal found a player within their age criteria.

Does Jorginho fix Arsenal’s dearth in midfield?

Arsenal have signed Jorginho from rivals Chelsea
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Arsenal have signed Jorginho from rivals Chelsea

Arsenal have lost only three games this season. Different defeats are obviously caused by different contexts but there is one common denominator in all three losses: as the Gunners went behind, Thomas Partey wasn’t on the pitch.

The Ghanaian midfielder was injured for September’s league loss at Manchester United, rested on the bench for the Europa League defeat at PSV Eindhoven and was taken off injured at half-time of last week’s FA Cup exit at Manchester City.

The central midfield position was an area of concern for Arsenal before Deadline Day – but the drop-off in Arsenal’s quality and output when Partey isn’t involved is clear to see.

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Since the start of last season, Arsenal have won three-quarters of their league matches with Partey in the squad. Without him, Arsenal have won less than half of their games, while they concede twice as many goals compared to when Partey is present.

Therefore, with Partey such a central figure to Arsenal’s success, cover is needed to manage his minutes, especially when Arsenal’s Europa League campaign comes back into full swing on March 9.

Jorginho’s status as a centrepiece in a Chelsea midfield over the past five years, plus a Champions League and Europa League winner with the Blues, makes him a sensible rotation option – especially considering his trophy-winning experience.

“I think that with maybe 10 games to go in the season, when they might actually need cool heads, when there is a pressure moment and the nerves are there in that title run-in, he may actually be a really good signing,” said Jamie Carragher on Deadline Day.

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Jamie Carragher believes Jorginho could be the calm head that Arsenal need if they are to go on and win the Premier League title

“He is a player that has won the Champions League, he has won a European Championship in the last few years, so he is a top player – but he is a different style of player.

“I am not saying that [would work] for Arsenal week in, week out, but I think that he could be a big help for them towards the end of the season as they get nervous.”

The Italian midfielder’s statistics this season, despite a turbulent campaign for Chelsea, also look impressive.

However, despite having more possession than Arsenal this season, Chelsea have defended more than the Premier League leaders in the current campaign – meaning Jorginho’s tackling and recovery stats are likely to be higher than most Arsenal players.

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There are doubts over Jorginho’s ability to fit in with an Arsenal midfield that has been renowned for its quick passing of play in transitions.

But with Arsenal having long-term reported targets in Declan Rice and Caicedo, who could leave West Ham and Brighton respectively over the summer, Jorginho’s signing on an 18-month deal represents a quick-fix option in the meantime.

Versatility is boosted up-front

The other area Arsenal faced a slight shortage going into the January transfer window was up-front.

Gabriel Jesus’ injury was a blow for the club and while Eddie Nketiah’s goals softened that setback, it meant Arsenal were one injury away from a serious problem in attack.

There has also been a reliance on Bukayo Saka over the past 12 months. Last season, the England winger was left without any real competition capable of challenging him for a starting spot, leaving him as the only Gunners player – and one of just four in the top flight last season – to feature in all 38 Premier League matches.

Mikel Arteta embraces Bukayo Saka after the win at Spurs
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Mikel Arteta has used Bukayo Saka frequently over the past two seasons

The goalscoring exploits that Saka has now – three goals and three assists in his last eight Arsenal league games – faded away towards the end of an exhausting campaign last term, with zero open-play goals and two assists in the final 10 league games of the season.

While Mudryk, Raphinha and Moussa Diaby were all enquired about throughout January, Trossard was eventually brought in and his ability to play in multiple positions makes him a smart purchase.

The £27m arrival is similar to the Richarlison signing that Tottenham made in the summer. The Belgian is a player who can appear on both flanks, in a centre-forward role or behind the front three – the last of which he confesses is his favoured position.

Versatility has been a common theme in Arteta’s acquisitions since he arrived at the club. Ben White, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Jesus all have experience covering multiple positions and their varied skill sets have aided the unpredictability Arsenal have shown on the pitch.

Speaking of unpredictable, expect many twists and turns as Arsenal attempt to stride towards the Premier League title.

Arsenal’s next ten fixtures

February 4 – Everton (A), Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm

February 11 – Brentford (H), Premier League, kick-off 3pm

February 15 – Manchester City (H), Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm

February 18 – Aston Villa (A), Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm

February 25 – Leicester (A), Premier League, kick-off 3pm

March 4 – Bournemouth (H), Premier League, kick-off 3pm

March 9 – Opponent TBC (A), Europa League last-16 first leg

March 12 – Fulham (A), Premier League, live on Sky Sports, kick-off 2pm

March 16 – Opponent TBC (H), Europa LEague last-16 second-leg

March 19 – Crystal Palace (H), Premier League, kick-off 2pm

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Arsenal sign Jorginho from Chelsea for £12m | ‘Arteta a big influence’

Arsenal have signed Jorginho from Chelsea in a Deadline Day deal worth £12m, boosting their midfield ahead of a push for the Premier League title.

The 31-year-old Italy midfielder has signed an 18-month contract, with an option to extend for a further year.

Jorginho was into the final six months of his Chelsea contract, with the Blues trying to land a British record transfer for Benfica central midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal tried to sign Jorginho from Chelsea in the summer of 2020, just after he won the Champions League with the Blues and the year before he lifted the European Championships with Italy.

Arteta was also the assistant coach at Manchester City when they tried to sign him in 2018 – but Jorginho turned down the move to join Maurizio Sarri instead at Chelsea from Napoli.

Jorginho Saka
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Jorginho was greeted by team-mate Bukayo Saka as he arrived at Arsenal on Tuesday

Speaking to the Arsenal website about Arteta, Jorginho said: “He was a big influence because I know that he tried a few times to get me before and it didn’t happen due to other reasons, not because of my wishes.

“I’m very excited for this new challenge, and I just can’t wait to be on the pitch to be honest! Everything has happened so fast. I was a bit surprised, but I took the opportunity of this amazing challenge.”

Arsenal are short on options in midfield and revealed on Deadline Day Egypt international Mohamed Elneny has suffered a “significant” knee injury.

A club statement read: “Following an injury sustained in a recent training session, subsequent assessments have confirmed that Mohamed Elneny has a significant injury to his right knee. Mo has had successful surgery in London and will be ruled out for an extended period of time.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has joined Crystal Palace on loan. There are also ongoing injury concerns over Thomas Partey, who has picked up a rib injury.

The Gunners twice bid for Moises Caicedo in the final week of the January window but Brighton remained adamant the midfielder was not for sale.

Analysis: Carragher positive on Jorginho move

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Jamie Carragher says Jorginho could be the calm head that Arsenal need at the business end of the season

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:

“With maybe 10 games to go in the season, when they might actually need cool heads, when there is a pressure moment and the nerves are coming on in that title run-in with seven or eight games to go, he may actually be a really good signing in terms of slowing things down with a cool head.

“He is a player that has won the Champions League, he has won a European Championship in the last few years, so he is a top player, there is no doubt about that, but he is a different style of player.

“But I think that could be a big help for them towards the end of the season as they get nervous.”

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Paul Merson says bringing in Jorginho would be an outstanding move for Arsenal

FLASHBACK: When Arsenal tried to sign Jorginho on a 2020 Deadline Day

We have been here before with Arsenal looking to sign Jorginho on Deadline Day. Rewind to October 2020 when Mikel Arteta first tried to tempt the Italian to make the switch across London.

Here’s how Sky Sports reported it at the time…

Squad depth, Europe, experience… why Arsenal went for Jorginho

Sky Sports News’ Gail Davis:

“People may be surprised, when you look at the profile of players Arsenal had been signing but Arteta had made the point on the day they signed Leandro Trossard that they need players who are fit and ready to go straight off in the Premier League. That’s what Jorginho is.

“Arsenal are short in the midfield area. The squad is looking thin there.

“Europe is about to start and they’ll be going Thursday-Sunday-Thursday-Sunday and they want somebody else in.

“When you look at where Arsenal are now, they’ve got a great chance of winning the Premier League for the first time in 20 years. Arteta understands the demands on his squad are going to be greater over the next few months and that’s why he had to get bodies in.”

Lokonga joins Crystal Palace on loan

Albert Sambi Lokonga moved to Crystal Palace on loan on Deadline Day
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Albert Sambi Lokonga moved to Crystal Palace on loan on Deadline Day

With Jorginho’s arrival at Arsenal announced, Lokonga’s loan deal to Crystal Palace was unveiled within the final hour of the January transfer window.

The Belgian midfielder has moved to Selhurst Park on a straight loan deal until the end of the season.

The midfielder said: “I’m really excited – I can’t wait to get started. I’m really happy to join Crystal Palace. I want to go as far as possible with the team. I will try to push for me and the team to do the maximum to reach the top.”

Lokonga will link up with Patrick Vieira’s side having made just six Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season, starting just two games.

His last Premier League minutes came in the north London derby victory over Tottenham on October 1.

Analysis: Arsenal can’t wait for a new midfielder

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

One of the most important factors behind Arsenal’s success this season is that they have been able to keep Partey fit. The Ghanaian was sorely missed during his periods on the sidelines last term and Arsenal’s record with and without him proves it.

In fact, factor in the current campaign as well and Arsenal’s win rate stands at 74 per cent in the Premier League games he has started compared to just 50 per cent in the ones he has missed.

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The gulf in quality between him and his deputies, Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga, is simply too large and the Egyptian’s injury exposes Arsenal’s lack of depth even more glaringly.

Waiting until the summer, when the club hope to recruit Declan Rice from West Ham, is now even riskier than it was and that means action is required before the end of January window.

Arsenal’s schedule has been relatively kind since Christmas, but it ramps up with a run of four Premier League games in 14 days at the start of February, and that’s followed by the resumption of their Europa League campaign in March.

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Partey’s load will need to be managed in order to minimise the risk of injury and that will only be possible if Mikel Arteta is granted his wish for a viable alternative in the 29-year-old’s position.

Arsenal’s recruitment in recent years has centred on the long-term but right now, top of the Premier League and with the added burden of European commitments to come, a short-term solution is needed.

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Arsenal’s fresh £70m Caicedo bid rejected by Brighton

Arsenal have had their fresh £70m bid for midfielder Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton.

Brighton remain adamant that the midfielder is not for sale in January, with the window set to shut on Tuesday at 11pm.

Sky Sports News has been told their position will not change despite two bids from Arsenal in the last week and the player’s own apparent transfer request.

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We take a look at Moises Caicedo’s best bits in the Premier League

Had the Seagulls accepted Arsenal’s latest offer for the 21-year-old it would have been a club-record transfer, surpassing the £60m sale of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea in the summer.

The Gunners also had their initial £60m offer for Caicedo rejected, which prompted the Colombia international to plead with Brighton to let him leave and join the Premier League leaders in a statement on social media.

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The Soccer Saturday team have their say on Moises Caicedo’s potential transfer to Arsenal and analyse his best moments in a Brighton shirt

Caicedo, who said to Brighton’s official website that he was focused solely on his current club just last week, was told to stay away from training with the Seagulls until after Tuesday’s transfer deadline following his Instagram post.

Leandro Trossard has already swapped Brighton for Arsenal in the current window in a deal worth £27m.

Arsenal are in the market for a new midfielder due to concerns about squad depth, a suspected long-term injury to Mohamed Elneny and a new fitness worry over Thomas Partey who was replaced at half-time during Friday’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester City.

De Zerbi: Brighton ready to go forward without Caicedo

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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi insists that Moises Caicedo is a ‘very good guy’, but says it was a ‘mistake’ for the midfielder to publically state his desire to leave the club

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi wants Caicedo to stay at Brighton until the end of the season but says the club are “ready to go forward without him”.

“Caicedo is a very good guy and I can understand him,” said De Zerbi after Sunday’s last-gasp FA Cup fourth-round win over Liverpool.

“When you are 21 and you receive the request of a big team, they are playing in European competition, I can understand.”

Asked if he was surprised by Caicedo’s social media post, De Zerbi added: Yes, yes I was. I’m not sure if it was him if you know what I mean…”

Pressed on if he thought Caicedo had been influenced by others, De Zerbi said: “Yes, I think so.”

What did Caicedo’s Instagram post say?

Caicedo’s Instagram post read: “I am grateful to Mr Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them. I always play football with a smile and with heart.

“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.

“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.

“The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take up this magnificent opportunity.”

Caicedo said on Brighton’s official website earlier this week that he was focused solely on his current club.

Trossard has already swapped Brighton for Arsenal in the current window in a deal worth a £27m, but Brighton are determined to keep hold of Caicedo.

At just 21, Caceido also offers a long-term solution and investment and would drop the Gunners’ league-low average age even lower. But he has experience, too – collecting 28 senior caps for his nation and impressing at the World Cup in Qatar.

Some may baulk at the proposed fee, but Caicedo provides serious midfield mettle and scope for development, while his remaining deal at the AMEX, a soaring transfer market and growing competition for transfer targets nudges prices ever higher.

Why is Moises Caicedo in demand?

The Brighton midfielder’s primary strengths include general distribution, creating chances and winning duels.

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Caicedo also provides box-to-box qualities from a typical No 6 role, patrolling the left-of-centre in defensive and opposition halves in almost equal measure.

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He has attempted only two shots from inside the box in the Premier League this term and is far more inclined to strike from outside the area – hitting the target three times from 10 long-range attempts.

In terms of creating chances, Caicedo frequently penetrates opposition lines with threaded passes in central areas but has also found team-mates from wide areas.

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The graphic below highlights how Caicedo’s passes are primarily made down the central and left-hand thirds and underlines his box-to-box influence, while the passing direction radar reveals an impressive accuracy and progressive vision – with barely any passes angled back towards his own goal.

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He is also cool under pressure, with only two team-mates recording a better ball-retention rate when being hunted down by opposition players, and is also the key component in Brighton’s transition phases, according to Second Spectrum data.

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Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window closes at 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland on Tuesday January 31, 2023.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Arteta: Partey to have MRI scan | Keane: I expected more from Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey will have an MRI scan this weekend after coming off injured in the FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Manchester City.

Partey was substituted at half-time in Friday night’s loss as he was replaced by Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed the Ghanaian, who has been an influential part of their season, was in “some discomfort”.

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The Independent’s Miguel Delaney and the Press Association’s Simon Peach discuss Arsenal fan’s reaction to the Gunner’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup

Arteta said: “He had some discomfort and it was getting worse and worse.

“He was uncomfortable to continue. (Saturday) or the day after he will have an MRI scan and see what he has.

“We have at the moment the injury of Mo (Elneny). It is not possible to get him fit. (Albert) Sambi has come in and has done well.

“It is true Thomas is a big influence and a big personality and in the second half we didn’t have him.”

The Gunners are on the lookout for a new midfielder before the transfer window closes and any serious injury to the 29-year-old could accelerate those plans ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, with Mohamed Elneny currently out injured.

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Sky Sports reporter Michael Bridge provides details of Arsenal’s £60m bid for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo

Arsenal had a £60m bid for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo rejected on Friday.

The south-coast club insist Caicedo is not for sale in this January transfer window, but Arsenal remain interested and are deciding whether to go back in with an improved offer.

Late on Friday night, the Ecuador international released a social media post asking Brighton to take up a ‘magnificent opportunity’ following Arsenal’s £60m bid.

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Roberto De Zerbi says he’s spoken to Moises Caicedo like a father, rather than a coach and is hoping he will stay with Brighton till the end of the season

Asked about a move for the 21-year-old following the defeat at City, Arteta responded: “You know that I am not going to comment on any players until anything is done, and I will continue like that.”

Asked if Arsenal hope to be busy in the coming days, the Spaniard replied: “We have been pretty active in the market.

“We have some necessities and if something else is available, the club is willing to try to do it when it is reasonable and hopefully it’s a player that can improve our squad.”

Keane: I expected more from Arsenal at City

Arsenal's Rob Holding and Manchester City's Erling Haaland battle for the ball
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Arsenal’s Rob Holding (left) challenges Manchester City’s Erling Haaland in the FA Cup fourth-round clash

Roy Keane says he “expected more” from Arsenal in their 1-0 FA Cup defeat at City and labelled their performance “disappointing”.

The north London side sit top of the Premier League, five points ahead of City but they were beaten by Nathan Ake’s second-half winner in the first meeting between the two sides this season.

Arteta, however, did make six changes from last weekend’s Premier League win over Manchester United, while City made just two as they included the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne in their starting XI.

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane told ITV: “It was hard to gauge Arsenal tonight because of the team they put out.

“Looking at the starting line-up you could sense that this was not their priority. They want to get that Premier League title.

“But I know the players are going to be down for the next few days as they don’t want to get beat.

“They’ll recover and if they go on to win the league, they’ll say they had to sacrifice this game, but when you make so many changes particularly defensively, you send the message that you’re not that bothered – which is not a good message to send.

“I expected more from Arsenal tonight but they were disappointing.”

Pep: Arsenal will switch things up in title race

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola embraces his former assistant and now Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola embraces his former assistant and now Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions City’s 1-0 win will have any impact on the Premier League title race.

The Spaniard admitted the tactics employed by his former assistant Mikel Arteta surprised him as Arsenal’s man-to-man marking interrupted City’s flow.

“It was a tight game, a difficult opponent,” Guardiola said. “The second half was better apart from 10 minutes after the goal.

“I didn’t expect this approach, the man-to-man. It made the process difficult. In the second half we had to contact more than usual with Erling (Haaland), it is what we had to do. But it is a victory, the next round, we will see what we have to do.”

City head to the Emirates on February 15 in the Premier League but Guardiola said he did not think this result will have any bearing.

He said: “I am pretty sure both teams are going to adjust something.

“I have the feeling now they are going to do something differently.”

Keane: It’ll take a lot to stop City

Manchester City's Nathan Ake celebrates with Jack Grealish after scoring against Arsenal
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Nathan Ake (right) celebrates his second-half winner against Arsenal with Jack Grealish

Guardiola’s side have now won their last three games after suffering back-to-back defeats earlier this month.

Keane told ITV: “Pep Guardiola criticised his players a couple of weeks ago but they’ve reacted well.

“These boys are naturally winners over the past few years so they’re used to it. It’ll take a lot to stop them.

“What we saw tonight was the experience Manchester City have shown over the last few years, knowing how to win games.

“There was one real lapse from Arsenal and they got punished for it.

“It’s good to win matches when you’re not at your very best and there’s a lot more to come from City. They weren’t at their very best tonight but in the FA Cup it’s about getting the job done.”

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