Pep Guardiola aims subtle dig at Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo after Man City win Premier League title
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Pep Guardiola directed a subtle dig at Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bayern Munich loanee Joao Cancelo during Manchester City’s title celebrations.
Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday confirmed City’s status as Premier League champions for the third time in succession.
The Gunners had been in a commanding position in the title race for the majority of the season, only to hand the advantage to City in April by going four games without a win.
Indeed, the Cityzens secured their fifth league title in six years under Guardiola, while they are on course for a historic campaign, having also booked their place in both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
This term, Grealish has finally come to the fore in a City shirt, having increased his attacking and defensive output, particularly since returning from the World Cup
Elsewhere, Nathan Ake produced his best campaign since a £41million switch from Bournemouth in 2020.
And during City’s coronation on Sunday, Guardiola singled Ake for his performances at right-back throughout the season.
Guardiola’s subtle Zinchenko and Cancelo dig
In praising Ake, Guardiola appeared to be taking a dig at Zinchenko and Cancelo’s defensive frailties.
Zinchenko left City for Arsenal last summer after seven years at City playing predominantly as a left-back. Meanwhile, Cancelo, who was central to City’s success last term, abruptly left the club on loan in January, and will likely be sold in the summer.
On Ake’s form, Guardiola said: "He has been fundamental.
“I learned this season when you play against [Bukayo] Saka, Vinicius [Junior], [Gabriel] Martinelli and [Mohamed] Salah or [Sadio] Mane in the past, you need a proper defender to win duels one v one.
“Or, in the Champions League, at that level, they need one action to beat you and Nathan gave us that boost that I didn't have in the past.
“The biggest boost was having a proper defender and in the past, we didn't have it and Nathan, [Manuel] Akanji and [Kyle] Walker did it."