Pep Guardiola said that winning 1-0 against Arsenal was as satisfying as some of Manchester City’s biggest victories this season.
City continued their outstanding form by clinching all three points against Arsenal thanks to an early Raheem Sterling goal.
Sterling headed in a cross from Riyad Mahrez to break the deadlock within two minutes. However, despite the promising start, City eventually had to settle for just that one goal.
It was enough for them to claim the win, but Guardiola knew by the end of the game that they had to work for it.
Outlining what made the game so difficult, Guardiola told Match of the Day: “They are aggressive with one-to-one pressing.
“They move really well in the pockets and speed from the sides. It’s so difficult to play against.
“We knew today would be one of the toughest ones but we scored early and we could control it.
“The first 10-15 minutes were so good then the next half an hour they were much better than us. The feeling is that they are close.
“In the second half, we needed something to be more effective in our pressing and we were much better.
“Of course, we could score the second and the third but we scored then they defend well. It’s so difficult to play Arsenal and Mikel [Arteta]. He knows our players so well.
“It is not easy to play and we play so, so calm and intelligent. It was a good game.
“Every game you are not going to win games 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, sometimes when you win 1-0 it is so good. We have to realise what we are doing is so difficult. It is a struggle, a fight, behind the ball and that is why we like this result.
“It is one more, one more. We think all the time the next one. That is now Champions League, then West Ham at home.
“One at a time. 39 points to play. We have 10 up front. So we have to win.”
Guardiola full of praise for Arteta
As he alluded to, Guardiola knows all about Arteta’s methods, having used him as his assistant at City for three years.
Now a manager in his own right, Arteta is even inspiring his former mentor.
Guardiola told Sky Sports: “Mikel knows everything. He’s so good.
“It’s not because he’s my friend. He’s so clever. I learn a lot watching his teams. Today I learned something that I can use in the future. He knows everything about football.”
The win over Arsenal was City’s 18th win in a row, a remarkable run of form that has propelled them to the top of the Premier League.
Guardiola admitted that even he could not have expected such a spell.
He added: “People look at our run of wins and think it’s so easy. I didn’t expect it.
“I’m more than grateful for these players for what they’re doing, but winning these games 1-0 is what we need to do.”