Arsenal will welcome Manchester City to the Emirates on Sunday evening, and it will be a chance for Mikel Arteta to catch up with some of his former colleagues, from the time he spent as an assistant manager at the Etihad.
Arteta joined City’s coaching staff in 2016, having been regarded very highly by Pep Guardiola who reportedly always believed the man he met as a boy at the Barcelona academy would one day become an excellent coach. He was one of the names considered to replace Arsene Wenger in 2018, but the club went for Unai Emery instead. They obviously believed that the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain would do a better job given his experience, whereas Arteta had none as a head coach. However, the decision was reversed less than 18 months later, and Arteta left City to take over at Arsenal.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola was understandably asked about his relationship with Arteta and the work his ex-assistant is doing at Arsenal.
The Catalan reiterated his high opinion of Arteta and said that Arsenal don’t deserve to be in the 10th place in the Premier League table given the quality of their football. He pointed out that the Gunners always outplay their opposition, controlling the game, creating a fair number of chances and conceding few, and that they deserve to win, but he admitted it sometimes simply doesn’t happen that way.
Asked about his own influence over Arteta in terms of his development as a coach, Guardiola refused to credit himself with anything. He said his coaching staff always make decisions together, and that Arteta had as much influence over him during their time together as he did over Arteta.
“I didn’t inspire him. I know absolutely that I wasn’t any influence, he takes all the credit with his staff,” the City boss said.