Arteta’s tactical genius is now better than Pep Guardiola’s

Mikel better than Pep by Ben Dungate

I watch a lot of football, and this season I have noticed that Man City have changed tactics and formation (for some reason) and I have to say, it ain’t working too well. Last season Cancelo was operating down the left as an advanced full-back and Kyle Walker was a more conventional right-back. This season Cancelo is all over the place and Pep seems to be trying to force a formation on the players that they don’t seem to be able to adapt to or don’t understand.

Now this pertains to Arsenal because City’s formation often sees them left with 3 at the back with Rodrigo pushed further forward. This is reminiscent of the way we set-up, except Arsenal are utilising it far better than City. This is more than likely down to the way it has been sold to the players and their willingness to implement it.
Man-for-man, aside from Saka, few would argue that Man City have a better First XI than we do, and a far better squad. However, that doesn’t count for much if you’re trying to force square pegs into round holes.
It makes me do a little sick in my mouth to think how I have come full circle in my appreciation of Mikel Arteta. I didn’t rate him. I thought he was an ordinary player and didn’t understand why he became synonymous with our club and I let that cloud my judgement when appraising what he was trying to do. He has taken a group of young players and is getting them to play a way that the best team in the country can’t. For this I cannot speak highly enough of what he is doing. It is amazing.
Pep is a great coach. He has changed the way football is approached not only by his home nation but across the continent. But he has done it with the benefit of coaching the dominant team with all the best players across 3 different leagues.
I don’t think you can accurately judge a coach in this manner. It it clear why Pep wanted Arteta on his coaching staff at City. Our funny, little perma-stubbled Spaniard has made a group of youngsters and misfits into title contenders.
I wonder what he could do with all the best players and a bottomless pit of cash…
Ben Dungate
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20 Comments

  1. “It clear why Pep wanted Arteta on his coaching staff at City. ”

    Arteta is not better than pep just that Arteta is doing the hard stuffs in a simple way.

  2. At this late stage, with so much at stake right now, and a vengeful Spuds gritting their teeth in vengeful anticipation, if he (MA) can fashion a 2-0 win that is easy on the eye and isn’t hard to watch, then…only then!

  3. Really interesting to read how a fellow Gooner judges MA.

    I’m going to be patient and wait until Mikel wins the PL, FA cup (with his players) Carabo Cup in successive seasons and, actually qualifies for the CL……. Having said that, there is no question whatsoever that he has done some magical work in the last 18 months.

    What the author has failed to mention, is the total support given by the Kronkie’s.

    As we watch Chelsea sink down the table, after losing their Russian paymaster, one is reminded that ANY manager needs that support.

    It brings great joy to me, when I remember their fans chanting “we know who we are”…. it seems that they are finding out who they REALLY were – a one man band!!

    So thank you Stanley, Mikel and Edu… because we are beginning to remember who we are, but let’s not forget the chelsea lesson of pride before a fall.

    1. Hmmm not sure about that. Chelsea are still throwing plenty of money at their problems.

      If anything, they’re guilty of trying to buy their way out of trouble, Man Utd style.

      Even MU has now discovered that getting the right manager is key, although they probably got lucky even in that regard – they finally found a manager who can succeed from early on (even though that still involved having a heap of money in transfers being spent, at least this time it may have led to some improvement)…

      But I wonder how long they’d have given Ten Hag if the results were like Chelsea’s recent form. I suspect he’d be on his way already.

      1. Your quote about “throwing money” is correct, but its where and how you throw the money that’s the problem / answer.

        Here are two examples :
        Pepe at a reported £72,000,000.
        Lukaka at a reported £98,000,000.

        Since then, both clubs have been spending cash like it’s going out of fashion – hence my appreciation of Kronkie.

        Since then, even if we identify players like Mari and Lokonga as not fulfilling expectations, our overall performance in the market is so much better than Chelsea’s – hence my appreciation of MA and Edu.

        Looking at the table and the 19 point gap, there can, surely, be no argument regarding the rise of one club and the demise of the other.

        Unremarkably, the demise of chelsea can be traced back to Abramovitch, while the rise of The Arsenal can be traced to when the Kronkies backed MA, despite two 8th positions and the loss of european football, with over £350,000,000 of funds.

        1. U pple be talking like ex man u and Chelsea coaches that where sacked were not backed by the club. Arteta did well with the small he was given credit to Jim.

          4 mancity players fee is more than our entire first 11

    2. Have you seen Chelseas injury list? All the below, and most are knee injuries.

      With that list, we wouldn’t even be top 4. I agree Chelsea has list spirit, and having one manager a season isn’t sane.

      But even though I’m Arsenal since 30 years, long before Chelsea got eco-doped, I’m sure Chelsea will get back to a top club would in the right circumstances

      Edouard Mendy

      Reece James

      Wesley Fofana

      Ben Chilwell

      N’Golo Kante

      Mason Mount

      Ruben Loftus-Cheek

      Armando Broja

      Raheem Sterling

      Christian Pulisic

  4. While I appreciate the arguments presented in this article, I strongly disagree with the title. It’s too early to get carried away Ben! Pep is still the granddaddy of ALL EPL coaches.
    City have changed tactics “for some reason”! Well that reason is that new robot they have at 9. Pep has introduced a new system to accommodate him and it’s only a matter of time before it clicks FACT. And when it clicks we better be prepared for the battle that’ll ensue. I trust our young guns to hold their own if we can keep all of them fit.

    1. But City never failed to create chances, they just lacked a poacher. Having Haaland in the team is no reason to modify what’s going on at the back. Why a back 3 all of a sudden?

  5. The headline is funny. Really?
    Do you think that through before you put up this article?

    You said, Pep has the team in the world?
    Alcantara, Inesta, Xavi, Busquet, Pique etc are not worldclass before Pep, they are just this good players like every other good players but guess who brought them together and make them worldclass? Pep
    And guess when that happens? Pep’s first season as a first team coach/manager.

    Arteta is a good player but he won’t lase Pep’s coaching tactics in the next five years.
    You said, Pep spend a huge money to make him relevant? Do you think Arteta will be in this position if he had spend the same money as Eddie Howe in Newcastle?
    Arsenal isn’t a strong side like Newcastle when Arteta took over.

    Do you know how much our first 11 defence cost? £130M. More than the entire Liverpool defense.
    Do you know that Arsenal 1st 11 is more costlier than Liverpool 1st 11 that won the EPL and CL?
    If you think Arteta will be here without spending huge amount of money, then think deep.
    Your tactics is nothing without money.

    Do you think Ferguson is a tactical genius than Arsene Wenger?
    Give both managers same player and Wenger will beat him all day long.

    Leave Arteta alone and let him grow in the job. Now you brought up what will be used to beat Arteta after some set-back. He has tried and doing well but not even near Pep in tactics.
    Does that mean Arteta is a tactical genius than Klopp too?

    When he reach there status, then you can compare.

    1. Bob, I agree with you. I think the author is ahead of himself comparing Pep who is the top of the cream of the coaches and Arteta who is still scratching the surface of coaching. Who knows MA might turn out to be better than Pep but he has a long way to go catchup. Arteta is not yet established and people need to stop comparing him to the seasoned managers like Klopp, Pep, Ancellotti, Mou, wenger or Fergie. He is still finding his ways and we should wait until that time there is enough data for comparison.

    2. I see you conveniently avoid adding Alisson to the defence total. Why because it wouldn’t suit your narrative then would it?

      Arsenal back 5 = 177m Euro
      Liverpool = 195m Euro

      2nd highest transfer fee for a Gk and 3rd for Def, both records at the time of their signings if my memory is good. What Liv have done much better than us is know when to sell.

    3. Did you actually read the article or just get angry at the title and then immediately start replying? Obviously, at least I thought, the article was largely satirical. Arteta is doing extremely well but is still at the beginning of his career. Pep has won everything in different leagues with different teams, but my comment about him winning with the best team in the best league holds up.

      If you did read the article you will remember that I credited Pep with completely reinventing football across Europe and particularly with his home nation. My article was meant to illustrate that at present Arsenal are more competently applying very similar tactics and formation. That’s it. Nothing more.

  6. A bottomless pit of cash can of course help in answer to your last point but…

    I can’t remember if it was Eric Morecombe or Les Dawson who told the great Andre Previn that he was playing all the right notes, but in the wrong order in the piano

    The same applies to management. You can have a team to die for but if you can’t get a tune out of them……..

  7. Ken1945 hits the nail on the head. So far so good, but before we make judgements, Mikel Arteta (one FA Cup win) has a long way to go to emulate the career achievements of Pep Guardiola.

  8. Titles like this p!ss me off..
    How can Arteta be better tactician than Pep? Lets not over do it. It’s cringeworthy and embarrassing?
    Smh

    1. It was satirical. Until Arteta has realised success of course this is a silly comparison. The article was more to point out that Pep has tinkered with his set-up this season and it is similar to the way we employ it, however, we are doing it more successfully. Maybe it’s because the players are younger, fresher, and haven’t experienced success with a more familiar formation. Who knows. My point was that Arteta is doing wonders this season and right now our players are performing better than Pep’s much better, more experienced team whilst using similar tactics.

  9. Klopp is better then both, I won’t rate or put Arteta in great manager bracket yet until he wins trophies like the other Anchelotti, Zizu, Klopp, Pep etc. Like players managers have their own sort of levels and It won’t be fair to put Arteta on the levels of other great managers who have achieved so much. Arteta is a good manager but has long way to go and a lot to achieve to be named along these other great managers. Like many Arsenal player he definitely heading in right direction.

  10. Brighton’s style of play is simply breathtaking!!! It’s so good it rivals ours. I hope we play so well against Spurs tomorrow the way Brighton just did to LiVARpool and take them to the cleaners to send a serious warning to rivals and United after their controversial win against City.

    We need to be brave to play under pressure to evade their pressing and be clinical like Brighton. There is no better time to play Man U and halt their resurgence to avenge the 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture and the Invincible loss.

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