Man City star Rodri rubs Mikel Arteta's face in it after Arsenal title race heartbreak

Rodri was one of Man City’s most influential players this season (Image: X: @BVids2912)

Manchester City midfielder Rodri has suggested that Arsenal’s mentality is what cost them the Premier League title, adding that Mikel Arteta’s Gunners ‘did not want to beat them’ during a cagey goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium back in March.

City sealed their fourth consecutive Premier League crown – a new record in English football – by beating West Ham 3-1 on Sunday. Arsenal scrambled to victory over Everton to finish on 89 points, but they still finished two shy of the Sky Blues.

It meant a fresh dose of heartbreak for Arteta, who saw his side surrender a commanding lead in last season’s title race before pushing City even harder this term. But Rodri found no time for sympathy amid joyous celebrations at the Etihad.

Pointing to the side of his forehead, the Spaniard said: “To be honest, it’s in here. It’s the mentality. Great players are in every league and at every club. Arsenal did an unbelievable season but the difference was in here.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal fell short in the title race for a second consecutive season (Image: Getty)

“When they came here and faced us at the Etihad, I saw them… these guys didn’t want to beat us, they just wanted to draw, you know. That mentality, we wouldn’t do it the same way and we catch it. In the end, if you give us one point, we will win the last seven, eight games despite how tough it is.”

In a tense battle which was always going to have a significant impact on the title race, Arsenal defended deep at the Etihad in March and left with a point after seeing only 27 per cent of the ball and registering half as many shots as City.

A victory in that game, providing all other results remained the same, would have seen the Gunners win their first title in 20 years on goal difference.

A 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa in mid-April proved to be Arsenal’s undoing as City went 23 Premier League games without defeat to close out the season, including wins in all of their last nine matches.

An unprecedented string of Premier League titles has left City boss Pep Guardiola searching for sources of motivation. “Some moments I’m a bit tired but some of the moments I love and we are here winning games, looking good with new players,” he said.

“I start to think that no one has done four in a row, why don’t we try? And now I feel it’s done, so what next? FA Cup [final against Manchester United on Saturday] – Gary Lineker told me that no team has done back-to-back Premier Leagues and FA Cups.”