Rodri tells Arsenal the day they lost the title race to Man City with brutal jibe

Rodri celebrates
Rodri celebrates -Credit:Getty

Manchester City believed they could win the Premier League title when they saw Arsenal play for a draw at the Etihad Stadium in March.

City had drawn with Liverpool in the previous gameweek and welcomed Arsenal knowing defeat would see them with a mountain to climb in the title race. Arsenal knew victory would put them in a commanding position - but their contained approach ensured they maintained their position and kept City at arm's length.

All the talk after those two games was that City's chances of winning the title were slim - however, the mood in the City dressing room was a more positive one, according to Rodri.

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The Blues would not lose another game, aided by Arsenal's home defeat to Aston Villa a few weeks later which gave City the opening they needed to overtake the Gunners and win the title. Rodri was asked after City's final day win over West Ham how his side maintain their hunger - with his answer a brutal reminder of what Arsenal lacked.

"To be honest, I think it's in here [points to his head]. It's the mentality," he told Optus Sports. "[There are] great players all over the league, all over the clubs. Arsenal also they deserve [to win], they did an unbelievable season, but I think the difference was in here [points to head].

"When they came here, they faced us at the Etihad, I saw them and said: 'Ah, these guys, they don't want to beat us, they just want a draw.' And that mentality, I don't think we would do it the same way.

"And we caught them. At the end, if you give us one point, we will win the last seven, eight games even though it's so tough. So I think [the title win] comes down to mentality."

Expanding, Rodri says that Arsenal's reaction to that draw made City 'believe' they could do it, but stressed that actually winning all their games was another matter altogether.

[Pep Guardiola said the moment he knew City would win the title came when Arsenal lost against Villa on the same day Liverpool were beaten by Crystal Palace.

"The turning point was the weekend Liverpool lose at home to Crystal Palace and Arsenal to Aston Villa at home," the manager said. "At that moment, okay [click click]. They give us a chance, they would not give us another chance, so we take it.

"The people say do it again, we did it again. Win a lot of games in a row to be champion. Really pleased for the way we compete all season. In the Champions League we didn't lose one game all season but we are out, but the way we are out. We know we will lose games. You have to choose how to lose games, this defines the team. I like the way when we lose, because it happens.

"The exception is Aston Villa [away], they were better. Rarely when we lose we are not who we are. That makes me feel so proud, stable and good. After that the mentality, the club, we have in all departments. Put every game the important ones and we are able to do it."