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Arteta admits title race has changed his relationship with ‘best coach in the world’ Guardiola

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he puts his friendship with ‘best in the world’ Pep Guardiola aside in the Premier League title race.

Manchester City hosts Arsenal in a crucial top-of-the-table Premier League clash at the Etihad on Sunday. With ten games to go, just one point is separating third-placed Man City from leaders Arsenal.

Arteta worked as Pep Guardiola’s assistant for three-and-a-half years at Manchester City before joining Arsenal in 2019.

When asked how his relationship with Guardiola has evolved, Arteta told reporters on Friday: “It had to change.

My admiration and what I feel for him certainly hasn’t changed,”Arteta said. “In my opinion he’s the best coach in the world by a mile and he’s one of the nicest people that I’ve met in football.

“Certainly he’s one of the ones that I’ve had the most fun and laughter working with. That’s going to stay there forever.

[At Arsenal], I was just watching everybody walking in the building and I loved the energy, I loved their smiles and they were glad to be back.

They wanted to train yesterday and the way they communicate and relate with each other every day is phenomenal.

We have done a lot to be in the position that we are, but we need to go day by day, train well, prepare every match. We’ve done a lot to be where we are now we have to embrace that position and go for it.

You have to make strong steps to be there and I think we’ve done big ones in recent seasons. We’re getting much closer and now it’s how we close that gap and try to be better than them.”

Arsenal were eight points clear of Man City at the beginning of April last season, but in the end, Guardiola’s side won their fifth Premier League title in six seasons.

Arteta said: “There are moments. When you’re at Anfield and you’re 2-0 up and you end up drawing

“The same position at West Ham, and even when you can still win it you miss the penalty. Then there’s the game with Southampton where clearly we should have won the game but there were many factors that didn’t allow us.

We got the injuries, there was the Sporting game [exiting the Europa League at the round-of-16 stage] and there were lots of factors. Then the momentum shifted to a negative one and we struggled to keep up because they kept winning. They won 14 or 15 in a row!

[Sunday] is a massive game for both teams. It will give us a huge boost again if we go there and win it. Still there is a long, long, long way after to make the ground to win it.”

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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