Man City star Rodri changed his mind on Arsenal after one up close moment

Rodri celebrates

Manchester City were filled with belief that the Premier League title was within their grasp after observing Arsenal's tactical approach for a draw during their March face-off at the Etihad Stadium.

In the preceding matchweek, City found themselves locked in a stalemate with Liverpool and entered their clash with the Gunners knowing well that a loss would leave them scrambling uphill in the title race. On the other hand, a victory for Arsenal had the potential to cement their dominant position.

However, the North London side preferred a more conservative style of play, aimed at retaining their position while keeping City at bay.

The popular narrative following these two ties underscored City's slim chances of bagging the league title, but inside the City changing room, spirits ran high, as reported by midfielder Rodri.

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Capitalising on Arsenal's disappointing home loss to Aston Villa a few weeks later, City didnt let go of another match and seized the opening they needed to topple the Gunners and clinch the Premier League title. After his side's final day victory over West Ham United, Rodri was quizzed about how City kept up their motivation, and his response served as a harsh reminder of what Arsenal lacked.

"To be honest, I think it's in here [points to his head]. It's the mentality," he divulged in an interview with 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]."

Manchester City midfielder Rodri reflected on the title race, pinpointing a key moment against Arsenal: "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."

He added that this approach allowed City to catch up, saying, "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."

Rodri further commented on how Arsenal's reaction to their draw with City made his team 'believe' in their chances, but he emphasized the difficulty of winning all their remaining matches.

City manager Pep Guardiola also shared his insights, identifying the decisive moment of the season: "The turning point was the weekend Liverpool lose at home to Crystal Palace and Arsenal to Aston Villa at home," Guardiola explained. "At that moment, okay [click click]. They give us a chance, they would not give us another chance, so we take it."

Guardiola expressed pride in his team's performance throughout the season, especially their resilience: "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."