mikel arteta arsenal

Lampard plays down Arteta’s ‘inexperience’ as Chelsea head to play Arsenal

Frank Lampard has played down the ‘inexperience’ of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as Chelsea prepare to face their London rivals at the Emirates on Sunday.

Chelsea will be looking to bounce back following their disappointing 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, the loss part of a poor run of form that has seen Lampard’s side lose five of their past seven Premier League fixtures.

The club remain fourth despite their recent wobbles and asked if a game two days after defeat was a good way to bounce back, Lampard told his pre-match press conference:  “It’s a tough visit to a London rival, big stadium, new manager, good players so we will just focus on what it is.”

The Blues make the short journey across the capital to face an Arsenal side under new management, the Gunners having appointed former club captain Arteta as their new head coach earlier this month following the sacking of Unai Emery.

Arteta is beginning his first role in senior management after three seasons on the coaching staff at Manchester City, though Lampard has played down the significance of the 37-year-old’s ‘inexperience’ and says his tutelage under Pep Guardiola will put the Spaniard ‘in good stead’ for life in the Arsenal dugout.

“He’s worked with one of the greatest coaches, if not the greatest, for a couple of years at Man City and he was always an intelligent player so I don’t buy the whole inexperience thing,” Lampard added.

“You don’t know until you take the chance with somebody, and who’s to say that a manager is better or worse because they’re in their first year or their 50th year of management?

“There are challenges daily and I’m sure he would have seen that at City but he would have observed it more and obviously been a big support for Guardiola. Now it’s his turn to make those decisions himself but from the years he’s had working with Guardiola at a huge club who have been successful, I think it puts him in great stead.

“He was a very good player, very intelligent and very technical. He seemed to be a leader, not in a fist-pumping way but a leader in whatever team he was playing in so it looks like he could be well-suited for management. I do wish him well on a personal level – not on Sunday – but I do because when you see a fresh manager come into a job like that, I can understand the strains and the pressures of it.”

Arteta outlines his non-negotiable demands at Arsenal

See also – Five major issues facing new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta