Mikel Arteta insists Pep Guardiola's all-conquering blueprint at Manchester City is not one for Arsenal to follow.
The Gunners host the Premier League leaders on Sunday aiming to become the first side to beat them since early November – and end their 16-game winning blitz in all competitions.
But while Arteta has already masterminded two victories as Emirates boss over his one-time mentor Guardiola – in the league and FA Cup last term – his North Londoners are still miles off replicating City’s success under their superstar Spanish coach.
And Arteta is the first to accept that attempting to take the same path as his fellow countryman has with at City would be pointless given the difference in the resources of their respective clubs.
Yes, there are many ingredients in the Guardiola manual that he is using as he attempts to rebuild and restore the Gunners as a genuine force at the summit.
But, on the other hand, when Guardiola arrived at the Etihad, City had been Premier League champions twice in the previous four years.
Consider that alongside the struggling Arsenal team Arteta inherited from sacked predecessor Unai Emery 14 months ago – and it explains why copying Guardiola is impossible.
Arteta, whose side are 22 points behind City, said: “You cannot compare his situation to our situation at the moment. They are very, very different.
“You can share some values, some ideas, and the way we were raised and educated in football is very similar because we had the same background.
“The fact we worked together united us a lot – to get that chemistry and those ideas together.
“How do you make it work? You need some time, sometimes you need a lot of investment, sometimes there is a group of players that can already provide that.
“You have to keep evolving and finding a way because there is not one formula that works. You cannot try to follow Pep and City because you will fail. “
If Arsenal do not have the same cash to spend, at least they have young talent to rival City’s – with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe so prominent of late.
And Arteta hopes to add Real Madrid’s on-loan Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis.
The ex-Arsenal and Everton ace revealed: “We have Martin for a few months and have to maximise this time
“At the end of the season we’ll sit together and decide where we can take that relationship forward. it doesn’t just depend on us.
“He’s a young leader. On the pitch, he is showing a lot of character and intelligence. He's been here a very short time but adapted very quickly.
“He's getting more and more respect from the players and his impact will increase with every week. “
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