Guardiola’s choice of Fernandinho in defence, ahead of England centre-back John Stones, who was on the bench, proved inspired against Arsenal, with the midfielder playing an unorthodox centre-half role in which he pushed up when City were in possession.
It was a gamble that, not for the first time in his coaching career, made Guardiola look a genius, although he acknowledged the inherent danger in the decision.
“I know what is going to happen, we are going to lose when Fernandinho plays in that position,” he said. “I am a genius, huh? But I discover a surprise for the opponents doing that and I know what is going to happen. ‘Why do you take a risk and leave £45 million on the bench when he can play in that position?’ And I know that.
“But he can play there because we analyse the skills and what we need. We need a guy who understands the build up and that is why we use him.
“It is better to be always in the same position, you know that, always there and not change too much but when the player is open minded and accept and you speak to him in training and he say, ‘I can do it’, and he understands the situation, it is not a problem.”