Pundit urges Mikel Arteta to stop copying Pep Guardiola

Gabby Agbonlahor has criticized Mikel Arteta for his frequent lineup changes at the start of this season and is calling for the manager to adopt a more consistent approach.

Arteta has recently made some surprising alterations to his team, such as deploying Thomas Partey as a right-back and opting not to utilise Kieran Tierney in his usual left-back role before the latter left the club on loan. Despite the unorthodox tinkering, Arsenal’s unbeaten run in the league suggests that these tactics may be yielding positive results, and they harbour ambitions of competing for the league title once again.

However, a recent slip-up against Fulham brought Arteta’s tactics under scrutiny. Agbonlahor appears to question whether Arteta’s frequent changes are sustainable in the long term.

Agbonlahor believes the Arsenal gaffer is not being original and is copying Pep Guardiola instead. He tells Football Insider:

“Timber is injured, so just play the back four from last season.

“Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, White – play a normal system. It’s the strongest lineup they’ve got.

“It’s quite simple. He’s tried to complicate things. You’re not Pep Guardiola, he’s got to have his own ideas.

“Stop trying to copy others, and continue with what made you so successful in the first place.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

Pundits are paid to talk and most of us are not surprised by these comments from Gabby, considering that he is always talking.

The most important thing is that the manager’s decision is bringing results for us and we expect him to continue to achieve success on our bench.

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Tags Gabby Agbonlahor Mikel Arteta Pep Guardiola


  1. We had a great squad that finished 2nd last year, lacking quality depth and injuries was a big part of falling short.

    We needed to strengthen midfield (we did with Rice), another quality defender in Timber.

    I would have preferred a solid plan B striker with strength and aerial prowess, or a top B2B striker.

    Unfortunately we have Havertz, who is neither of the above 2 preferences.

    Don’t reinvent the wheel, just rotate our strong squad and setup, and use competition for places to sharpen the players.

    A title or trophies must be on the menu this year, excuses have run out after 4 1/2 years and over 600 million in spending.

    Can’t hide behind lack of spending, quality, or depth anymore, owners done their part, now it falls to Arteta and his players.

  2. Personally I can’t see a problem coping probably the best manager in the world. However I don’t think that’s true and experimenting in the first few games is also to be commended no matter what tactic he is trying to implement missing sitters in front of goal is down to players…IMO

    1. Agreed.
      Guardiola built his style and purpose on what he learned from Johan Cruyff so best of luck to Mikel.
      As for Gabby, gobby is more appropriate.

  3. Arsenal and City’s systems are so different I don’t get the sense that Arteta is copying Pep. While in Pep’s system one of the CBs joins the midfield,in Arteta’s system,one of the fullbacks joins the midfield to create ovedloads in the middle. And I’d rather not use the term copy. The term learn/adopt would be more appropriate. The inverted fullback tactic for instance,and the hybrid CB/CM tactic that Guardiola prefers were used decades ago by the great Johan Cruyff. Many of the tactics Guardiola uses he learned from the legend and I’ve never heard people say he ‘copied Cruyff’. Some of the tactics Arteta uses he probably learnt from Pep-there’s no shame in learning from the best. Pep also credits some of his tactics to Marcelo Bielsa and others. To be the best,you have to learn from others.

    Talking of the changes Arteta made,I feel they were forced by injuries. When Zinchenko got injured in final stretch of last season,perharps he wanted another inverted fullback for the overloads but because there wasn’t anyone suited to the role,he tried Partey but on the right. It was actually the same tactic we were using but this time it was from the right. I believe this why he got Timber-to have the possibility of inverting from the right as an alternative to doing it from the left in Zinc’s absence. It’s the same way City have had to change tactics after Stone’s injury. They probably don’t have another player capable of doing the hybrid CB midfield role like Stones so they’ve had to go back to a flat back 4. In a similar manner,I believe the injuries to Zinchenko and Timber forced Arteta to tweak his lineup and formation a bit.

    1. To add to this,I believe if Arteta were to emulate Guardiola’s tactics,he’d probably use Rice as a hybrid CB/CM like Stones. Rice would be suited to this role because he’s played well both at CB and in midfield. I actually suspect Guardiola wanted to sign Rice for this very role-he’d probably be better than Stones at it. Another proof that the two use different systems is one Joao Cancelo. Cancelo is perfect for the inverted fullback role that Arteta likes-it’s not a coincidence that we were linked with him all summer . On the other hand,Pep didn’t hide the fact that he wanted him gone-an indication that he had abandoned the inverted fullback tactic. At one time Pep benched Walker for an extended period because he preferred his CBs. The two couldn’t be more different tactics-wise. The similarities are that they both like possessing the ball and pressing opponents to retrieve the ball soon as possession is turned over.

  4. Probably the two mentors that shape the gaffer career are Wenger and Pep Guardiola, but Arteta is more 80% Guardiola and 20% Wenger.

    The gaffer shows zero percent in patience and tolerance and maybe even more ruthless than Pep Guardiola himself.

  5. It was Arteta who introduced that tinkering to Pep, when he was employed as his advisor, consultant and assistant coach because he had an eye for tactical detail, NOT the other way around as wrongly sugested by Gabby.

    1. Wrong. Johan Cruyff invented the inverted thing. Arteta and Pep are just replicating Cruyff’s tactics.

  6. Moving forward, I think Arsenal have learnt from their home match Fulham 2-2 draw game mistake making. And as a result have moved forward considerably to at the Ems beat Man Utd last Sunday.
    Which wasn’t a copycat of a thing done by Mikel Arteta to copy Pep Guardiola’s orthodox ways of playing the game. But Arteta’s contemporary ways of playing the game that suits his Arsenal project vision as being thought out by him and implementing it for Arsenal this season. So therefore, let us the Arsenal supporters hail Arteta. And say more grease to his elbows ahead of our next Everton game at the Goodison Park after the international break.

  7. Agreed.
    Guardiola built his style and purpose on what he learned from Johan Cruyff so best of luck to Mikel.
    As for Gabby, gobby is more appropriate.

  8. Gabby ” brain of not even his own house” Agbonlahor gives more of his “thoughts”on JA.

    One question: WHY?

  9. Arteta’s only coaching experience was garnered from working under Pep Guardiola. So isn’t it natural for the “student” to be doing what he learned from the “teacher”?

  10. That Gobby is just loquacious. Not fit for the pundit role. Arteta is doing well and has our support. What’s wrong with copying a good thing if at all. Shut up! Gabby is Gobby. Arsenal moves!

  11. It’s the idea that there may be a manager who can rival Pep at such a young age that unsettles these wannabe pundits when they couldn’t do shit at Arteta’s age. Plain and simple jealousy and burn!

  12. Ateta is one coaching and he knows what his doing. Also copy from the best plus they worked together so what is wrong with Gobby guy.
    People who don’t want to see somone try out something new.et

  13. Let him try his luck at a coaching role at Everton. Gobby wld probably be sacked within his first 6 to 10 games!

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