Pep Guardiola has said he is planning to use City’s semi-final at Wembley against Arsenal to gauge how ready his side are to play Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Now. Look. I know Pep and Mikel Arteta are best buds and that Arsenal just beat Liverpool, despite going a goal behind. But Real Madrid have just been crowned La Liga champions for the 34th time and comparing Arsenal, at present, to them in any way, is more than a little silly.
“This is a final,” Pep Guardiola said ahead of the game. “In finals there are lots of factors. Minimal details.
“Being strong in your head, how you overcome situations.
“Mentality – these games are about mentality, not tactics.
“It will be a good test to see if we are ready to play against Madrid.”
It could be, of course, that he means if they manage to spank six past Arsenal, they know they’re ready for Real Madrid. But we all know they’re ready. They’re on a mission after being let off yet another European ban.
They want that Champions League trophy and they want to go into that game in the best form possible.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have pretty much nothing to play for after this game if they lose it. Win, however, and they’re off to Wembley again for yet another FA Cup final.
Fail on Saturday and they have two league games remaining in which they know they must collect all six points to guarantee ninth place while hoping Sheffield United and Spurs drop points somewhere that might allow Arsenal to climb to eighth or even as high as seventh.
Sixth is also a remote possibility, but that would require Wolves failing to win either of their final games (home to Palace, away to Chelsea) along with both Spurs and the Blades dropping points.