The key lessons Mikel Arteta learned from his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta on the Manchester City training ground
(Image credit: Getty)

The outlook of Arsenal (opens in new tab)’s manager was shaped by the success he enjoyed during his spell as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City (opens in new tab).

Guardiola’s approach is famously intense and demanding, and traces of that can be seen in the way Arteta deals with his players.

When he retired in the summer of 2016, Arteta had the option of taking charge of Arsenal’s academy but elected to support Guardiola instead.

During their three years together, Man City dominated English football, winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup.

In the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague explained the influence that period had on Arteta’s management style.

“If Arteta had started managerial life away from City, it may have been a different path, but Guardiola’s influence cannot be denied,” Balague told FFT.

“He picked up a lot of how you relate to players – how not to relate to players, even. He learned from Pep, then added his own thing, which was influenced by his own playing career but also where he comes from.

He comes from Gipuzkoa, one of the smallest provinces in the Basque Country, of just 700,000 people, and from there you’ve got Arteta, Emery, [new Wolves boss] Julen Lopetegui, Xabi Alonso… it’s an unbelievable quarry of football-thinking talent.

“Every year the coaching federation gives 500 licences – to race to the top, you have to be very good.”

Despite winning the FA Cup at the end of his first season as Arsenal manager, their underperformance in the league led to plenty of doubt and frustration amongst supporters.

But a thorough rebuild of the squad, with an emphasis on youth, energy and a willingness to learn, has started to pay dividends.

The Gunners are currently top of the table after 14 games, five points clear of Guardiola’s Man City in second.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1