Arteta not going head-to-head with Guardiola for title

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Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta

Mueez Ajao

– Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said the club’s Premier League title race with Manchester City this season will not affect his friendship with Pep Guardiola.

– Former midfielder Arteta served as assistant to Guardiola at City from 2016 to 2019 before Arsenal appointed him as manager following the exit of Unai Emery.

– Arteta’s side are top of the league table with 50 points after 19 games, five points above second-placed City who have played a game more. The teams will face off at the Etihad Stadium in Friday’s fourth-round FA Cup clash.

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– Asked about how he felt about going head-to-head with Guardiola in the league and FA Cup, Arteta told reporters: “I always hoped this would be the case one day and it is happening this season.

– “Obviously that is not going to change any friendship, how important he is in my life and how important he is to my profession.

– “We both want to win and defend our clubs the best possible way. That has always been the case since day one.”

– Arteta, who guided Arsenal to the FA Cup in 2019-20, said a victory on Friday would give his team momentum and boost their confidence.

– “In some ways it will define our season, yes, because if we are able to win on Friday we will go into the next round and they won’t,” Arteta added.

– “It is a very important competition for us and winning will define this moment, for sure, as it will give us a chance to try to go on and win this trophy.

– “This is a big test against, in my opinion, the best football team in the world. I am looking forward to it. It will tell us a lot about where we are.”

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