Mikel Arteta says he has a ‘clear idea’ about Manchester City as the Arsenal manager prepares for a ‘very special’ return to his former side tomorrow night.
Arsenal travel to face the Premier League champions at the Etihad tomorrow evening, the Gunners looking to extend their eight-game unbeaten record in the league and the close the gap to the European places.
The fixture also contains the sub-plot of Arteta returning to face Man City for the first time since being appointed as head coach at the Emirates, the Spaniard having worked alongside Pep Guardiola as an assistant for three seasons in Manchester, winning back-to-back league titles.
The Arsenal boss insists the reunion with his former side will make it a ‘very special night’, though says his focus remains on securing a positive result despite his former allegiances.
“It’s going to be a very special night, I am very excited to get back there,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference. “I have some fantastic memories, a lot of friends, a lot of people that I like. But obviously now I am in a different position, another bench and I will defend my club as well as I can.”
💙 “I'm really excited to see people, the players the stadium. I have a lot of memories.”
🗣 Mikel Arteta on returning to #ManCity as Arsenal manager
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) March 10, 2020
Arteta added that his previous role at City gives him some inside knowledge of the threat posed by Guardiola’s side, admitting he has a ‘clear idea’ of the tactical approach expected from tomorrow’s opponents.
“It gives me a very clear idea of what they are trying to do, what they will be looking to do, but it’s something different to be able to stop that and as well create the issues that I think we can create for them.
“That has to happen on the day, when they are at their best, we know what they are capable of doing, the variation they have. At the end of the day, it’s about the players on the pitch and their performance.”
Arsenal have lost their past six fixtures against City in all competitions, however, Arteta insists his side will be heading to the Etihad with ambitions of securing a vital away victory.
“We’re going to go there trying to beat them, for sure. That’s going to be the game plan,” Arteta said. “We’ll put all the things we can on the pitch to make it difficult for them to create the scenarios during the game, and let’s see if we turn up on the day at our best and we can perform and win the game.”