Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Manchester City appointed Pep Guardiola in order to improve their record against big teams.
Guardiola is gearing up for his maiden campaign in charge of the Citizens after leaving Bayern Munich to replace Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium.
City struggled against the best sides in the country last season under Pellegrini, picking up just two points from their six games against the rest of the Premier League’s top four in Leicester City, Arsenal and Tottenham.
And Wenger believes such a lacklustre record prompted the arrival of Guardiola this summer.
“If they [Man City] picked up Guardiola, it is certainly because they are conscious of that problem [losing against big teams] ,” said Wenger, speaking ahead of Arsenal’s friendly clash with City on Sunday.
“I think last year was a surprise to me because of Pellegrini, everybody knew that he would leave, it made it a difficult season for them.
“I have a big respect for Pellegrini, he did a great job there. Of course the last season was a bit more difficult because everyone knew he was going.”
Wenger believes Arsenal’s clash with City can bring his side up to speed ahead of their Premier League opener against Liverpool following a pre-season affected by international duty.
“We had a little bit of a stuttering comeback after the European Championship because I gave those players [who featured in it] a bit of a holiday,” the Frenchman added.
“Manchester City have played one or two games less because one game was cancelled. I don’t think it has a big influence because it is more about the length of the preparation rather than the number of games you play.
“These games, like the one we played last night [Friday’s 8-0 win over Viking] , are about 80 per cent of the physicality of Premier League games.”