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Mikel Arteta’s ‘forensic studies’ of the Arsenal squad in anticipation of succeeding Arsene Wenger helped him mastermind Manchester City’s victory on Sunday, according to reports.
The Spaniard could have been in the opposing dugout at the Emirates as the reigning champions kicked off their title defence with a 2-0 victory, though the north London club instead opted for the experience of Unai Emery. However, the Telegraph report that he played a crucial role in City’s win having suggested a tactical tweak that directly resulted in Bernardo Silva’s goal.
As the City bench celebrated, Pep Guardiola grabbed Arteta and congratulated him for putting forward the suggestion which effectively killed the game. Arteta is also believed to have played a huge role in City’s pre-match analysis and tactical plan, having researched the Gunners’ squad meticulously for his interview to replace Wenger.
Arteta identified Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil as potential weaknesses, with the duo lining up on the wings, and concocted a plan to overload the flanks with pace. Mkhitaryan and Ozil duly offered little in the way of protection for their full-backs, while Arteta’s suggestion of putting the lightning-quick duo of Benjamin Mendy and Raheem Sterling on the left wing caused havoc throughout the match.
Sterling cut in from the left to score City’s opening goal, while it was Mendy’s powerful run and cut-back that created the second. Although City’s victory will have delighted Arteta personally, having been overlooked in favour of Emery, Arsenal are still very happy with their pick for new manager and have given the Spaniard assurances despite losing his first game.