Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal looking like Man City 2.0 – for better and for worse

There’s a segment in the Amazon Prime series that focuses on Manchester City where Pep Guardiola laments his team’s lack of cutting edge.

“If you want to be a top, top, top team you have to score the f*****g goals guys!” screamed the Catalan.

Mikel Arteta was present in that dressing room having been Guardiola’s No.2 at that point.

And it was the skills he learnt under the serial winner that convinced Arsenal that their former captain was worth taking a punt on.

But he will want to avoid repeating Guardiola’s experience during his first year as a manager in England.

The Catalan, who has since cracked the Premier League, watched on as his side showed promise beyond belief, but fell well short.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Arsenal’s match winner

The reason they fell so short was their inability to turn dominance into points.

Time and time again they had the better of games but were unable to find the back of the net – before their defensive frailties ultimately undermined them.

Both of those issues have since been addressed with several records broken along the way.

But there are certainly parallels between Guardiola’s early City and Arteta’s current Arsenal side.

The Spaniard watched on as his side put in a stellar performance at Old Trafford to see off Manchester United 1-0.

It was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who got their winner from the spot to bring to an end his goalless run.

Had Arteta seen his side lose however, they would have had only themselves to blame.

It’s perhaps ironic that their winner came from 12 yards because, despite their attacking flair and patterns, David de Gea was rarely called upon.

Aubameyang spurned several opportunities as did Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka.

Mikel Arteta has Arsenal looking incredibly impressive

The frustration for a manager in these instances must be palpable – how on earth can they be held accountable for their strikers’ inability to convert chances?

That though is the nature of the beast and Arteta would’ve been the man to answer the questions had the north Londoners left Manchester empty handed.

And, lets be frank, it would’ve been a travesty. Everything about Arsenal was excellent.

Their press, their defensive assurance led by Gabriel, the intricate passing, the movement. At times they do look like peak City, only wearing red instead of blue.

But while an individual can teach players how to dominate games, it is a far greater challenge to teach players about winning.

Arteta and Tierney celebrate victory at Old Trafford

Arteta already looks to have done the former, doing the latter will take far longer.

The lack of cutting edge has been an underlying issue this season – quite how Leicester performed a smash and grab at the Emirates last Sunday is anyone’s guess given the home side’s dominance.

Lacazette spurned a notable opportunity when the Gunners were in the game against Liverpool last month before they fell to defeat.

Winning and collecting three points serves as a great remedy to issues that would otherwise be reaching the surface.

Arteta though already seems to be a man cut from a different cloth and he’s wasted no time in shifting the culture in north London.

His teacher Guardiola is known for being animated and frustrated when his side don’t fulfill their brief, even if they are 5-0 up.

Images of him teaching Raheem Sterling where he could improve immediately after the FA Cup Final in 2019 will live long in the memory.

Arteta has already made a good team out of the average one he inherited less than a year ago.

It is the fine details that help good become great and that is now his, and Arsenal’s next step.

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