Arsenal has a really tough test this Wednesday against Manchester City, but playing Pep’s powerhouse now could serve the Gunners well as project restart gets underway. Here are three reasons why.
Arsenal’s first game of the 2018-19 season was played against Manchester City, and while we lost 2-0, the game contained a number of positives. We discovered Matteo Guendouzi for the first time, we saw the best and the worst of Unai Emery, and we set a tone that led to a 22-game unbeaten run, which started a mere two matches later.
Now we’re in a very similar situation. A different manager, a different squad, but a similar situation, and one that might bode well for the Gunners as they manage their restart. We’re not starting a new season, but our pandemic-enforced break has brought us some well-needed recuperation of injured players and
Here are 3 reasons why starting the restart against City really isn’t a bad thing
3. We finally get to see Pep vs. Arteta
Mikel Arteta is Pep Guardiola’s prodigy-nearing-progeny, and there’s no mistake about that. Whether in his tactical focus, his approach to the game, or simply because he was fortunate enough to serve as Pep’s assistant during Manchester City’s best ever years, he emulates his older countryman in almost everything he does. They have a very student-master dynamic, but it’s time that dynamic was tested.
And so, finally, we get to see how the two line up against each other. Two managers who are close friends, and who know each other back to front, facing off. It’s a wonderful scene. But as downright fun as it will be to analyze how similar Arteta and Guardiola are, their differences pique my interest still more.
Pep may well be the greatest manager who ever lived, but he has flaws, and Arteta might just be the man who can expose them. The match against City gives us the first real opportunity to see Mikel Arteta as his own man, not just Pep 2.0. For the first time, we get to see how Mikel Arteta himself has grown into football, and into the club he’s dedicated his future too. And that excites me.
On to number two.