The manager of Arsenal football club, Mikel Arteta, is set to face his former boss Pep Guardiola for the first time when Arsenal meet Manchester City on June 17 at the Etihad stadium. The match ought to have taken place in March but it was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic that halted football across Europe.
The match is one of the most important remaining matches in the Premier League which is a must-win for Manchester City if they want to keep their hope of retaining the Premier League title alive. It is also a must-win for Arsenal if they want to keep their hope of making the top four alive.
Currently, Manchester City is second on the league table, 25 points away from the first-placed Liverpool football club. They have 10 matches to win in order to retain their title. A lost to Arsenal will mean the end of the road to the league title chase especially if Liverpool win Everton on June 21.
Despite the importance of the match and the fact that it is a potential title decider for the disrupted season, the searchlight could be on Mikel Arteta, a former player of both Arsenal and Manchester City who acted as an assistant coach to Pep at City before he was appointed manager of Arsenal in 2019.
He gathered his managerial experience under Pep all in Manchester City where he spent 4 years as a member of City’s coaching crew. Hence, the match is a test for the 38-year-old Spanish tactician. Luckily for him, fans will not be in the stadium to add to his pressure; it will be him standing shoulder to shoulder with his former boss.
If Mikel Arteta is not able to match up with the tactical prowess of his former master, and Arsenal loses the match, the lost will take the 9th placed gunners closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League spots especially if the teams above them win their matches. Amid this kind of pressure, Arteta believes that it is going to be an exciting and a special moment for him.
“It is going to be strange, I can’t deny that”, he told Sky Sports. “I know everybody there and spent four magnificent years with those players and staff.
“I am really excited as well, I can’t wait to start competing again and doing what we love most which are to play football. It is going to be very special for me and I am looking forward to it.”
The Premier League is looking forward to restarting the disrupted season with the magnificent match on June 17. Unfortunately for the players and the spirit of football, fans will not have the opportunity of watching the game in the stadium as it will be played behind closed doors. They can only enjoy the remaining 92 fixtures of the league in the comfort of their homes.