Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola fears that the Leeds match will be the first Premier League match after the World Cup

‘I would have preferred another opponent’: Pep Guardiola fears Leeds will return to the Premier League with Manchester City as he bemoans his team’s January schedule amid a widening gap with leaders Arsenal.

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

Pep Guardiola fears many red flags as Arsenal put Arsenal firmly at the top of the Premier League.

Manchester City trail the leaders by eight points heading into Elland Road on Wednesday, with their manager admitting he would prefer not to face Jesse Marsh’s Leeds United directly after the World Cup.

Guardiola is also concerned about the prospect of a “terrible” January, with matches against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Pep Guardiola said he would prefer not to face Leeds United with Manchester City back in their first Premier League match

City will have to catch up with Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, who have dropped just five points this season after a Boxing Day win over West Ham. City beat Leeds 11-0 on aggregate last season, but fell behind them by four points in the 2020-21 season. As such, Guardiola has impressed his players that they should be ready to go the extra mile tonight after losing ground with a defeat at Brentford just before the World Cup.

“I would have preferred another opponent than Leeds after the World Cup,” Guardiola said. 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 on a high level.

Leeds are among the most aggressive teams in the league - something Guardiola pointed out

Leeds are among the most aggressive teams in the league – something Guardiola pointed out

The City boss said Leeds is the team

The City manager said Leeds are the “most aggressive” team in the Premier League “statistically”.

After our defeat against Brentford, and with the strength of Arsenal, we have to be vigilant because if the distance is greater, it will be very difficult to catch them.

Our schedule in January is bad in terms of the number of matches and the quality of our opponents.

We have to restart. That’s what we did against Liverpool last week (in the Carabao Cup) and we hope to continue.

Guardiola said City are managing Erling Haaland through a foot injury he sustained in October. The 24-goal forward has played four times since then but withdrew early in a win over Liverpool last week and a friendly against Girona. But he will be available to face Leeds.

Guardiola said: “The doctor said Erling hurt the ligaments in his foot and it’s very painful.” It is not easy to recover, which is why he suffered. Day by day it is getting better. He can train and he will recover.

City are currently managing Erling Haaland through a foot injury the striker sustained in October

City are currently managing Erling Haaland through a foot injury the striker sustained in October

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