Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refused to shed light on a postmatch confrontation between City defender Kyle Walker and Arsenal set-piece coach Nicolas Jover on Sunday after the champions suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time in five years.
Gabriel Martinelli’s 86th minute shot, which beat City goalkeeper Éderson following a heavy deflection off defender Nathan Aké’s face, was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Arsenal at The Emirates and move Mikel Arteta’s unbeaten side into second spot in the table.
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But with City dropping to third after the defeat, which followed on from last week’s 2-1 loss at Wolves, tempers frayed as full-back Walker and Jover, who used to work at City, squared up outside the tunnel as the teams left the pitch.
Jover appeared to offer his hand to Walker, who refused to shake it before walking on. However, the City player then turned back to confront Jover before being pulled away by teammate Erling Haaland.
Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka, who missed the game due to injury, also moved in to pull Jover away from the situation.
Speaking after the game in a postmatch news conference, Guardiola said he did not want to discuss the incident despite admitting that he knew what had happened.
“I know what happened, but I don’t want to say anything,” Guardiola said. “They [Arsenal] know it.”
City’s defeat has inflicted an early dent in their hopes of becoming the first team in English football history to win four successive league titles. And Guardiola said that suffering setbacks early in the season may ultimately help ease the pressure on his players to create history.
“No team has ever won four in a row,” Guardiola said. “Defeats can happen, but we are in October. Sometimes it is good going behind. It is not the first time going behind for the contenders. Last season we were much, much behind, but the season is long. It has happened.
“In Wolves it was a difficult game. Congratulations to Arsenal. We know exactly what we have to do and we do it. We recover people coming back and try to break [the losing run] immediately as soon as possible against tough opponents like Brighton and [Manchester] United.”