There was an image that went unnoticed for many fans in the run-up to the Premier League match on Thursday night between Arsenal and Manchester City, one where the pressure on Arsene Wenger appeared to show.
Stern words from Arsene to Pep
Wenger and Pep Guardiola were facing up against each other for the second time in just four days following Sunday's Carabao Cup final. The match that ended with the Spanish coach picking up his first trophy in English football saw some antics on the sidelines.
Wenger was waiting for Guardiola to emerge from the tunnel and it looked like he had some serious words just before kick-off.— City Chief ️ (@City_Chief) 2 de marzo de 2018
Pep let his players do that talk on the pitch: HT: Arsenal 0 - 3 City
And that tension may have been on the home manager's mind, as well as a concern that his team would be humiliated again by the Premier League champions-elect, as he greeted City's boss onto the Emirates pitch. Rather than the usual brief, and normally cordial handshake, Wenger gave his opposite number what appeared to be a firm few words in his ear.
As yet we have not been told what the contents of that particular conversation were. But after City raced to a 0-3 lead at the home of the Gunners, and then had a foot-off-the-brake attitude in the second half, maybe Pep had indeed instructed his players as per those Wenger words.