BARCELONA Aug 28 Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola
leaped to the defence of Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger on
Sunday after the Frenchman's side suffered an 8-2 demolition at
the hands of English Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Guardiola, whose team knocked Arsenal out of the European
Champions League last season and lured their captain Cesc
Fabregas back to the Catalan capital this month, said it was
hard to believe another manager could do as much for Arsenal as
Wenger had over the years.
The 40-year-old former Barca and Spain midfielder also noted
that the Arsenal squad that travelled to Manchester was severely
depleted by injury and the loss of Fabregas as well as France
international Samir Nasri who has joined Manchester City.
"We have to remember what he (Wenger) has done for football
in general, Arsenal is a great team," Guardiola told a news
conference ahead of Barca's opening La Liga game of the season
against Villarreal on Monday.
"Of course you can always go to Manchester, who have so many
good players, and Arsenal with so many injuries these things can
happen," he added.
"It's not just the departure of Nasri and Cesc but also
(Jack) Wilshere's injury that means he can't play and all the
other injuries across the squad."
Guardiola praised Wenger's record in the Champions League,
which Barca won for the second time in three years last season.
"They have always progressed far and been competitive over
the past decade, always with a very characteristic style of
football," he said.
"Arsenal has always been a team that has played very nice
football. In sport there are many good things that have nothing
to do with winning or losing."
United's big-spending local rivals Manchester City also
produced a fine performance on Sunday to rout Tottenham Hotspur
5-1 in north London.
Asked about City's chances of competing in Europe, Guardiola
said they were quite capable of causing an upset.
"If you see the players and their manager they can do it,"
"If you see these names they are awesome. All of them, they
are top, top, top players.
"It's one of the top teams in Europe. But you have to wait
as it's the beginning of the season and anything can happen but
they have everything to compete."
(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story
Please click on the newslink:
for more soccer news