Premier League: Big game: Guardiola and City end Arsenal’s title dreams?

Premier League: Big game: Guardiola and City end Arsenal’s title dreams?

They used to collect trophies together. Now Man City coach Pep Guardiola and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta are competing for the championship. Wednesday’s game could decide the title.

Mikel Arteta had just suffered a very bitter defeat with Arsenal when his former teacher jumped to his side.

Arteta is much more than just a good coach, said Pep Guardiola after Manchester City’s 5-0 win against London on the third day of last season about his defeated former assistant coach. “If you trust him, then he will do a good job.” Guardiola was right – and now has a competitor more.

On Wednesday evening (9:00 p.m. CET), the two top clubs will meet head-to-head for a possible preliminary decision in the English championship. Arsenal are top of the table with a five-point lead over the pursuers. But Guardiola’s star ensemble around top striker Erling Haaland has played two games less – and the Londoners are not in their best form after three draws in a row. However, Arteta does not want to talk about nervousness or too much pressure. “It’s more like there were some key moments where things didn’t work out for us,” he said on Tuesday.

Should Arsenal not win in Manchester, the in-form Cityzens could take the lead with two wins from their catch-up games. If Arteta’s team loses the direct duel, that would probably be the end of all championship dreams in London five games before the end of the season. Then the Gunners would no longer have it in their own hands. “Will that define our season? No!” Arteta insisted, almost defiantly.

Arteta shaped Arsenal into the top team

Regardless of the outcome of the Premier League, the signing of Arteta, against whom Arsenal decided in 2018 in favor of the hapless Unai Emery, should be seen as a success in north London. Since taking office in December 2019, the 41-year-old Spaniard has gradually shaped Arsenal into a top team against much resistance. For the first time in seven years, the club will qualify for the Champions League again this season.

Arteta established a new understanding of discipline and work ethic. Anyone who, in his opinion, did not comply with his demand for full commitment suffered the consequences. Like the then top earner Mesut Özil, whom the Spaniard finally banished to the stands. Among the numerous professionals Arteta sorted out were Shkodran Mustafi and the two former Dortmund stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrich Mchitarjan.

Arteta, who previously won the FA Cup with the team in 2020, helped Bukayo Saka make his professional debut. The 21-year-old Arsenal native has long been one of the top performers in the English national team. The highly gifted Martin Ödegaard is finally reaching his full potential. With the former Man City pros Gabriel Jesus and Aleksander Zinchenko, the Gunners also strengthened very specifically before the season. With an average age of 25.2, Arsenal are the youngest team in the Premier League this season.

Both coaches emphasize mutual respect

According to the coach, he learned a few things from his former teacher Guardiola, whom he admired at FC Barcelona. Arteta was playing in Barca’s second team at the time. When Guardiola signed on at Manchester City in 2016, Arteta was his absolute dream candidate as an assistant. “I don’t like people who work for me, but those who work for the team,” he said, referring to team player Arteta. In two and a half years together at City, the duo won two league titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups.

Guardiola recently spoke of “great respect” and “eternal affection” that he feels for the coach and the person Arteta. In turn, he emphasized the friendship and said the “chemistry” between him and Guardiola was just right. On Wednesday evening there is a “final”, as Pep Guardiola emphasized. The mentor, of all people, could now deny his former student his greatest success to date. And the record clearly speaks against Arteta, who lost seven times against Guardiola’s City with Arsenal and won only once. An eighth defeat would be particularly painful.

Source: Stern

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