Manchester City v Arsenal clash to be a real humdinger

Today’s eagerly awaited English Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal heralds one of the most explosive teacher-versus-student match-ups the football world has ever seen.

Pep Guardiola will welcome his former assistant Mikel Arteta and his log-leading Arsenal side to the Etihad Stadium in the weekend’s biggest match by far.

It will be an encounter that will be followed by millions around the globe and promi-ses to be a pivotal moment in the 2023/24 title race, with both third-placed City and Arsenal, along with second-placed Liverpool, all vying for the title.

Meanwhile, for Guardiola and Arteta, it also marks the latest chapter in a compelling and engrossing sub-plot that has seen the pair lock horns in the league eight times to date since Arteta took charge at the Emirates.

The pairs know each other better than most, of course, with Arteta having been a key part of Guardiola’s City coaching team between the summer of 2016 and December 2019 before leaving the Etihad to take up the challenge of seeking to restore Arsenal to their former glory.

Both across the course of Arteta’s three and a half years in Manchester as well as his subsequent time in North London, Guardiola regularly referenced his admiration and respect for the insight and knowledge provided by the former Everton and Arsenal midfielder.

For his part, Arteta has also spoken at length about what a pivotal figure Guardiola has proved in his own professional life and the enormous esteem in which he holds the city boss.

During the course of Guardiola and Arteta’s respective tenures, City and Arsenal have become familiar rivals.

This is how the last two clashes between the sided unfolded.

City 4-1 Arsenal, April 2023

In front of a raucous and expectant home crowd, Kevin De Bruyne’s seventh-minute strike gave Guardiola’s side a deserved early advantage before John Stones’ header on the stroke of half-time doubled the lead.

De Bruyne made it three early in the second period with a measured effort after turning the ball over in Arsenal’s half. Rob Holding reduced the arrears four minutes from time, and Erling Haaland’s 95th-minute finish set the seal on one of the most memorable victories of Guardiola’s City reign.

Arsenal 1-0 City, October 2023

Gabriel Martinelli’s late goal gave Arsenal their first Premier League win over City since 2015, as Arteta got the better of Guardiola for the first time as a coach.

Martinelli, a half-time substitute, scored in the 86th minute with a deflected shot off Nathan Ake to settle a hard-fought affair.

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