Arsenal

Mikel Arteta’s key role in Pep Guardiola Man City renewal as Arsenal rivalry is set up

Football.London

The Premier League won’t be released from the grasps of Pep Guardiola just yet as the Manchester City manager is set to remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.

The Spaniard has won four of the last five league titles but faces a title challenge from his previous apprentice Mikel Arteta. Arsenal’s boss spent three years with Guardiola in Manchester as assistant coach and cut his teeth in that job before taking over from Unai Emery at the Emirates Stadium in 2019.

Although Guardiola has had more success in the years since, Arteta’s rise up the table has made for an intriguing season with the Gunners topping the league at Christmas – partly down to the break for the World Cup. City have agreed a deal to keep Guardiola past the end of his current deal – which expires in 2023 – report the Athletic, and it sets up a new rivalry to cherish.

READ MORE: Full list of Arsenal players going to Qatar 2022 World Cup including Thomas Partey decision

The pair are both extremely respectful of each other after having such success together and now face off in a true battle. The importance of Arteta for Guardiola at City shouldn’t be underestimated either, he was a key member of the backroom staff and the former Barcelona manager could see that his pupil was going to become a brilliant coach.

Speaking with Rio Ferdinand, Guardiola was told: “You’ve created a monster [in Mikel Arteta].” In response, Guardiola said: “No, absolutely not. He was already. I know Mikel, they see him, the sporting director Edu & the club, how he works, we saw in the documentary. Rely on him. It’s a process.”

Arsenal are being rewarded for the patience they showed with Arteta, having built a young squad, but he isn’t thinking too much about the rivalry that is now set to continue against his former mentor. “It’s a really hungry and humble team, believe me,” the former Arsenal midfielder said of his squad earlier this season.

“It’s nothing that we have done yet, and there are still a lot of things to improve. That’s the direction we’re taking. We just started, and we’re really happy with where we are. The table says what it says, and we don’t look at that.”

Guardiola has since continued the praise, and it sets up what could be an exciting couple of years for the former co-workers, such is the understanding and intelligence between them. “He [Arteta] changed the team but not just the team, the club itself and Arsenal is back,” he said. “But also of course [there’s] Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, [Manchester] United who won four games in a row, they beat Arsenal and Liverpool.

“So you’re just in October and many many clubs can be there, I would say in March, April you know I could be more precise to say I think these teams are the two or three or four that can fight for the title. But in October, everybody is involved because many things even including the World Cup in the middle of the season.

“Like, no one knows what is going to happen, the way it’s going to come back. So that’s why it’s a game by game try to be every game your best and after we’ll see what happens.”

Although City cannot be written off, despite being five points off the top, but Guardiola is ready for the fight. In typical style though, he’s prepared to go to battle on the field against Arteta despite remaining glowing in public.

“We cannot forget one thing, ladies and gentlemen. There is one team that has been better than us this season, this is the reality. The reality is that Arsenal have been better than us so far. We are not top of the league. It is important to be there and try to fight to arrive there.”

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