The furious post-match bust-up between Arsenal and Manchester City was caused by a handshake, as emerged.
Following Arsenal’s statement-like 1-0 victory on Sunday, courtesy of a late deflected strike by substitute Gabriel Martinelli, players and staff from both sides were seen exchanging verbals as they left the Emirates Stadium pitch. City superstar Erling Haaland was visibly unhappy amid the commotion, the source of which has now been explained.
It all kicked off when Arsenal’s set-piece coach, Nicolas Jover – who used to work at City – went to shake opposition captain Kyle Walker’s hand. Multiple reports claim that Walker reacted angrily because Jover had refused to shake hands with his former colleagues after both Premier League matches between the clubs last season – which City won – leading the German coach to be called a ‘hypocrite’ by sources.
It’s added that after the defeats in February and April, Jover kept his hands firmly behind his back, showing ‘no interest’ in exchanging pleasantries which was viewed as a sign of disrespect. After he met his old pals again on Sunday, Jover is said to have been much more open, something which infuriated the likes of Haaland – even though he didn’t personally work with him in Manchester.
The 6ft 4in striker intervened to keep Walker and Jover apart, prompting a wave of bodies to join the fracas and add to the hostilities before tensions eventually cooled. Pep Guardiola was asked about the incident during his post-match press conference and told reporters with a smile: “I know what happened. But I won’t say anything. They [Arsenal] know it.”
Former City defender Micah Richards was asked to give his verdict on the commotion. “It looked like he (Jover) was going to shake his hand, but Kyle didn’t really want to,” Richards suggested.
“We’re in October, if we were in March or April I could understand the frustration, they probably don’t want to go to Arsenal and lose. But it’s not the end of the world.”
Ex-Arsenal forward Theo Walcott added: “We always look at City. They’ve been very professional and not reacting in situations. And that’s where I feel like a nerve’s been hit here, and he’s caught it there definitely.”
On Monday, it emerged that the FA will be taking no action against Arsenal or City, both of whom battled for the Premier League title last term. City came out on top for the third year in a row but now Arsenal are ahead of them after eight games and have the momentum.