Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has revealed that he sought the advice of West Ham boss David Moyes on several times before taking his new role at the Emirates Stadium.
The Spaniard played under Moyes at Everton for seven years after signing from Real Sociedad in January 2005 Arteta has, however, commended his former boss for his impact on his career and helping him with his first managerial job.
Arteta also added that the West Ham manager is changing with the times during his second spell at the club. Arsenal is unbeaten in seven Premier League games, while West Ham has lifted themselves away from the relegation zone.
The Gunners welcome the Hammers to the Emirates on Saturday and ahead of the clash, Arteta said it would be judge Moyes on a lack of success after he was sacked at Manchester United in 2014. He also revealed what Moyes told him prior to becoming Arsenal’s manager.
“I admire the person, who he is, his values, how he deals with people, how he treated the players when were there,” Arteta said.
“How well he deals with creating a culture around a club, the chemistry between the players and the belief that we could do something as a team.
“He works really hard. He is extremely demanding; he’s got character, Scottish character that is impulsive, and I really enjoyed my time under him.
“Obviously the Manchester United situation, I think what happened there was very harsh on him. I know how he is as a manager and my opinion hasn’t changed at all.
“I spoke with him a few times [since taking over at Arsenal]. He has always been very supportive. He has great belief in me and we maintain a really good relationship.
“So from what I know about David, and the people he has around him, he is always trying to evolve, always trying to get the latest thing to his players and his club.
“And he is not someone who sits down and says: ‘I used to do things like this 20 years ago and I am still going to do things like this.”
According to Arteta, Moyes will set his West Ham side up to be physical against the Gunners and believes the Scotsman is creating a quality culture at the club.
“I worked with David for seven years. He will put a team out there that’s physical and organised,” Arteta said.”
Arteta says the team will be terribly hurt if the club misses out of European football as Arsenal’s battle to qualify is looking tough at this stage. Arsenal is five points behind fifth-placed Manchester United and currently 10th in the Premier League table, despite having a game in hand.
“When we were in December nobody talked about the Champions League. It was an impossible thing. It is not in our hands,” he said.
“If we don’t reach any European competition we know what the meaning of that is so they don’t need any more pressure.
“They don’t think too much about the Champions League or the Europa League – or the relegation zone when we were talking about that, which is a much worse pressure I believe as well.
“They are dealing with the situation. We try to help them to focus just on what they have to do on that pitch and the rest will come naturally.”
Arteta also revealed it would have been phenomenal if Jack Wilshere, a teammate for five years at Arsenal, will play, but the England international has been ruled out since October due to a groin injury.
“He could have been phenomenal,” Arteta said. “It’s very sad with Jack. When I joined here and watched him every day in training, you would say he could be one of the best midfielders.
“He always had something; then he is starting to build again a career and then again another injury, again another setback. I was very impressed with how strong he was mentally.”
Also speaking about their time at Everton, Moyes singled out Arteta as a pivotal part of his former team and praised his former captain for his leadership qualities on and off the pitch.
“He always was a really good football player, but once he got used to the physical elements of the Premier League he developed into a really good captain, he was always a really good professional,” said Moyes.
“His professionalism rubbed off on a lot of people at the time, and I was really fortunate to have people like Mikel and others around me who were really good players.”
He said: “Mikel gave us something different. Probably the biggest disappointment was when I had to sell him to Arsenal.
“At the time he wanted to go, Arsenal was a good move for him probably at the right time in his career but I have to say we missed him because he was an exceptional player.”