One of the most frustrating elements of being attached to someone else in football, whether it be by name or job, is that there’s always a certain degree of pressure to go above and beyond what they have done and supersede them. While we can understand the comparisons and the fascination with it all, it just feels a bit cheap – as if it’s nothing more than an angle for the poisonous British press to work with.
As you’re surely aware by now, former Arsenal midfielder and captain Mikel Arteta has returned to the club, this time in the managerial role on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
Following his retirement from playing in 2016 at the age of 34, Arsene Wenger, the manager at the time, offered Arteta to be the head of the Academy. At the same time, he was approached by Mauricio Pochettino to join his backroom staff at Tottenham Hotspur (an option he hopefully never considered at all), as well as Pep Guardiola, offering him a place by his side at Manchester City. Arteta chose the third option and, as Guardiola himself says, grew at the Etihad as he helped the Catalan tactician lead the City team to two consecutive Premier League titles. He was linked with the Arsenal job when Wenger left in the summer of 2018 but was eventually snubbed for Unai Emery. Hopefully, he will have used the time between then and now to further enhance his coaching skills.
Arsenal officials, chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and the club’s lawyer Huss Fahmy, were photographed leaving the house of Mikel Arteta in Manchester in the early morning hours on Monday. Amid all the speculations about the former midfielder returning to North London to take charge of the team, it has caused a lot of dust to be raised, especially with his current employers Manchester City. And apparently, it wasn’t even the first time Arteta has met with Arsenal heads following the sacking of Unai Emery.
Speaking to the press ahead of the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates on Saturday, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed that captain Granit Xhaka will not be included in the matchday squad.
Xhaka’s clash with the fans in the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace last week has been discussed far and wide and in detail, and there’s hardly any need to repeat once again what happened. Xhaka has apologized since then, and though his apology didn’t seem as wholehearted as might have been expected, the Swiss revealed in the process that he had been receiving a lot of abuse previously, threats aimed both at himself and the members of his family. That certainly throws a light on the situation different to the one of last week’s incident observed as an isolated event, and it goes a long way to explain, if perhaps still not excuse, his outburst.
On Sunday, Arsenal face a tough trip to the Etihad Stadium to face reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
Manchester City have the chance to cut the gap on league leaders Liverpool to just two points, with the Reds playing on Monday night at West Ham.
The Citizens head into this game on the back of a galling 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on Tuesday night. The defeat will have to go down as a missed opportunity for Pep Guardiola’s team. The loss also ended a run of eight straight wins for City in all competitions.
According to Yaya Toure’s agent, the veteran midfielder has passed a medical in London ahead of joining a mystery club. The midfielder has been a free agent since leaving Manchester City in the summer after eight trophy-laden years in Manchester.
Toure’s agent Dimitry Seluk stated on Twitter “Yaya Toure has passed a medical in London. Yaya is close to signing a new contract.”
He also later claimed that the midfielder will not be heading to West Ham or Crystal Palace. With the options now narrowed down to a few clubs. Arsenal have emerged as favourites to sign Toure at odds of 6/4. Fulham are also the same odds to sign the midfielder though.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery came in for a bit of stick for trying to play out from the back against Manchester City at the weekend. The Gunners lost the game 2-0, but in reality, whatever style of football they played it would have been difficult to defeat the reigning champions, who were simply in a league of their own last season in the top-flight.
Trying to instil his football philosophy
Playing out from the back is highly popular with many top-level teams in the modern game. City under Pep Guardiola are a prime example of it working beautifully when mastered properly.
According to the London Standard, Arsenal will hold talks later today with former PSG boss Unai Emery about becoming the clubs new boss. Former Arsenal captain and Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta was reported to be close to the job. However, it now seems the north London club want to speak to Emery before any appointment.
Emery an interesting choice
Unai Emery would certainly be an interesting choice of replacement for veteran boss Arsene Wenger, who is leaving the role after 22 years with the club this summer.
According to media reports, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has ruled himself out of taking the Arsenal job. Asked about whether he would stay in his role at Juventus for next season, he reportedly said: “Will I stay at Juve? Yes. I have a contract to honour.
“If they don’t sack me, I’ll stay at Juventus next year too.”
Allegri was the favourite for the Arsenal job
The experienced Italian boss had been the favourite to take the role this summer, virtually since Arsene Wenger announced that he would leave the north London club this summer.
On Sunday afternoon, Manchester City and Arsenal clash at Wembley in the final of the Carabao Cup.
Manchester City no longer have the quadruple to aim for this season after exiting the FA Cup. However, the Citizens can still complete the treble of Premier League, Champions League and League Cup.
Pep Guardiola’s side has dispatched West Brom, Leicester, Wolves and Bristol City in the previous rounds. Arsenal should represent slightly more of a challenge for the Citizens, as Guardiola looks to win his first trophy at the Manchester club. If they succeed in winning the trophy it will be their third triumph in the competition in the past five seasons.