He added: “Contact is allowed here more than any other country. It’s O.K. But there are limits.”
As Guardiola went on to note, City was fortunate on Dec. 16 when De Bruyne absorbed a similarly crunching tackle in a 4-1 victory over Tottenham. Guardiola said Sunday it was too soon to know how serious De Bruyne’s injury was, but he estimated that Jesus most likely would be sidelined “more than a month.”
City already had been coping this month without the midfield playmaker David Silva, who has been unavailable because of unspecified personal reasons, but Guardiola dismissed the notion that the sudden question marks surrounding three of his most vital attackers would lead to a renewed push to try to sign the Chile international striker Alexis Sánchez away from Arsenal when the January transfer window opens Monday.
“He’s a player from Arsenal and I think he’s going to stay there,” Guardiola said of Sánchez.
Despite failing to score for the first time in 21 league games, City remained well ahead of the pack. Its 14-point lead over second-place Chelsea is the largest at the turn of the year in Premier League history, and City also sees itself as a serious contender to win the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
But the inevitable focus on the consequences of Sunday’s match for City could not diminish the achievement for its opponent. Palace battled admirably against a star-filled side averaging nearly three goals a game and had to overcome its own injury loss — the Palace captain Scott Dann also left the match on a stretcher after an earlier foul on De Bruyne — as well as City’s sustained second-half pressure.
Palace, which lost its first seven league matches this season without scoring a goal, has only recently climbed out of the relegation zone. Palace Manager Roy Hodgson, after his side had thrown such a scare into the most in-form team in the world, thus bristled at post-match questions about whether Wilfried Zaha had gone down too easily in the box to win the hosts’ penalty in the 92nd minute.
“You’ll have to allow me, to some extent, to at least have a few minutes of enjoyment,” Hodgson said of the manic draw, which at one point in stoppage time saw Guardiola unexpectedly sit down beside him in the Palace dugout to discuss all they had seen.
Guardiola, meanwhile, insisted that City’s remaining unbeaten was the least of his concerns, even though the Ederson save to deny Milivojevic kept his team on pace for a rare achievement. In the 2003-4 season, Arsenal became the only club to get through an entire 38-game Premier League campaign without a defeat.
“That’s not going to happen,” Guardiola said of his side matching Arsenal’s so-called Invincibles. “I’m not thinking about to be unbeatable.”