Manchester City play host to Arsenal at the Etihad today, and their former player Micah Richards has played the visitors improvements under coach Mikel Arteta.
The two sides come into the fixture with contrasting form, with City having won only one of their three Premier League fixtures so far this season, while the North London side have a perfect record excluding the trip to take on Liverpool at Anfield.
Former defender Richards has hailed the effect that the Spaniard has had on his side, and not just for guiding them to silverware after only a short time in charge.
“This time last year… Arsenal had become a laughing stock. The team was drifting, it was all too much for Unai Emery and perhaps it was exacerbated by the reaction and hysteria that appeared on Arsenal Fan TV,” he told his column at the DailyMail.
“Many supporters from other clubs rubbed their hands after every bad result, so they could log on and watch the shouting and screaming as some Arsenal fans started to turn on their own players.
“It is nearly 12 months to the day, remember, since parts of the Emirates Stadium booed their captain Granit Xhaka.
“I thought it would be a long way back for Arsenal but it has proven to be anything but. Nobody is laughing at Arsenal now and, for that, the credit belongs to Mikel Arteta.
“The start he has made to his managerial career is outstanding – and it is not just because he has won two trophies.”
The former City and Villa defender went onto admit that Arteta’s departure was a ‘big blow’ to Pep Guardiola’s side last season, telling of his experience seeing Arteta at work at the Etihad previously.
Richards added: “Losing Arteta was a big blow for City. I got a glimpse into the way he works last year, when I was at the training ground doing some ambassadorial work.
“Arteta was taking this particular session and I was struck by the way he was dictating what he wanted from the players – and how they responded.
“Every one of them was listening intently. I don’t know whether it was because the group was experienced or because they had so much respect for Mikel being around them, but the parts of the session I watched were so, so good. People have only ever told me positive things about him.
“He has taken everything great from Pep Guardiola and then put his own twist on things.”
Arteta will be hoping to take a lead in the head-to-head with his former boss, having lost 3-0 at away in the league last term before beating his counterpart at Wembley in the FA Cup, but that will obviously be no easy feat.
Will Arteta prove to be a better coach than Guardiola over time, using some of his principals mixed with his own experiences to become even better?