Mikel Arteta: Four things Arsenal boss did at Man City that shaped the manager he is today

FOOTBALL Mikel Arteta: Four things Arsenal boss did at Man City that shaped the manager he is today

Mark Kinyanjui 20:05 - 29.03.2024

Pulse Sports details the four things Mikel Arteta did in his time as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City that shaped the Arsenal manager he is now.

Mikel Arteta will be taking his Arsenal side back to Manchester City for the sixth time hoping that their match on Sunday 31, March will be the time they finally break the duck of failing to win at the Etihad Stadium since 2015.

Arteta has already beaten his former boss Guardiola twice this season, in the Community Shield and the other at the Emirates in the Premier League last October.

Should he win again, Arteta will have taken a huge step towards completing the biggest mission of his career so far, to finally get out of the shadow of being merely labled a Guardiola copycat.

A recent report by The Athletic has detailed his time at City, revealing the four things he did while there that shaped him into becoming the manager he is now.

Here are the four things that shaped him into a formidable coach.

1. Setting up player recruitment standards

At the end of his first season with Manchester City, Arteta learned about research regarding squad blends that lead to sustained dominance.

Championing this research, Arteta convinced Guardiola to incorporate it into the club's transfer policy, marking a significant turning point.

This cornerstone decision coincided with City's impressive run, securing five titles in the past six seasons. Arteta's acumen during his initial years with City was crucial as he navigated his ascent within the club's hierarchy.

Mindful of the dynamics between Guardiola and his closest confidants, such as Domenec Torrent and Rodolfo Borrell, Arteta worked respectfully to expand his role without disrupting existing relationships. By the time Torrent departed for New York City FC in 2018, Arteta seamlessly transitioned into Guardiola's new main assistant.

Arteta's influence extended beyond his day-to-day responsibilities, as he spearheaded various projects, including developing a comprehensive scouting framework for the City Football Group. This framework, now an extensive 80-page document, provides detailed guidelines for identifying players who fit Guardiola's team structure.

2. Set-piece specialisation

While Guardiola's approach to set pieces leaned towards indifference, Arteta recognized their importance and initiated a significant shift in Manchester City's strategy. 

Sensing that set pieces were often under-trained, Arteta spearheaded the recruitment of a specialist coach in 2019.

This led to the introduction of Nicolas Jover, previously with Brentford, who quickly gained Arteta's trust. 

Arteta even went as far as inviting Jover to his villa in Spain's Balearic islands to better understand his expertise and potential contribution. Impressed by Jover's insights, Arteta recommended him to City, eventually persuading Guardiola to endorse the club's decision to invest in this neglected aspect of the game.

3. Improving efficiency of forwards

In 2017, Arteta demonstrated his deep integration into Manchester City's system through his involvement in a groundbreaking project aimed at enhancing finishing skills. 

City's analysis revealed that the intensity of competition reduces the time and space available for shooting within the penalty area, where most goals are scored.

Arteta, leveraging his network and insights, introduced this project to the first-team environment, adapting it to simulate real-game scenarios.

 The drill required forwards to execute high-intensity sprints before making quick decisions and executing shots under pressure from defenders. Failure to complete the drill within the allotted time resulted in the play being stopped.

The impact was immediate and significant, with players like Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, and Gabriel Jesus notably improving their finishing abilities. Sterling's conversion rate nearly doubled, while Sane and Jesus saw marked increases in their goal tallies.

The results were telling, as City, after finishing third in Guardiola's first season, surged to become Premier League champions in their second campaign with a record-breaking 100-point haul.

 Arteta's tactical innovation played a crucial role in City's success, exemplifying his influence within the club's framework.

4. Connecting with staff & players

According to sources who spoke to The Athletic, Arteta's coaching journey has been shaped by three key factors: tactical wisdom gleaned from Guardiola, his unique path in British football, and a comprehensive understanding of modern football club dynamics.

Drawing from his experiences under Guardiola, Arteta introduced a novel approach to squad management, prioritizing open communication and addressing even minor player concerns. His meticulous attention to detail extends beyond on-field performance to encompass all aspects of player well-being and team operations.

While Guardiola fostered collaboration within his team, Arteta exemplifies a new breed of coaches adept at integrating soft management skills with modern technological demands. His role as a bridge between players, staff, and management underscores his ability to navigate the complexities of elite football environments.

Arteta's daily morning meetings, a departure from Guardiola's practices, symbolize his commitment to holistic team management. His proficiency in multiple languages further facilitates effective communication and collaboration across diverse footballing cultures.

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