Mikel Arteta insists ‘first job’ comparisons with Pep Guardiola are unfair

Mikel Arteta knows the comparisons between him and his mentor Pep Guardiola will last for as long as he’s a football manager.

But the Arsenal boss also knows any comparisons are unfair because there is no symmetry whatsoever between the situations they find themselves in.

Guardiola, 11 years Arteta’s senior, was handed the reins at Barcelona after a short but successful spell in charge of the Catalan club’s B team.

He inherited a stable of thoroughbreds at the Nou Camp with Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol chief among them.

Guardiola still needed to work his magic to help that group hit the heights they hit and in doing so he made them one of the most compelling sides the game has seen.

His achievements set him on a course that took him to the biggest and richest club in Germany, and then on to Manchester City, the wealthiest side in the wealthiest division in the game.

Arteta is hardly at the other end of the spectrum — Arsenal are, after all, a wealthy club too.

But they don’t have anything like the resources City have and nor did the Spaniard inherit a dressing-room with a winning ethos already instilled, as his old mate has at each of his clubs.

Arteta, who spent three-and-a-half years as Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad, said: “You cannot compare his situation to the situation at the moment with us.

“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 to make it work.

“How you make it work and what you need to make it work the way you need?

“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 that because you will fail.”

Arteta knows he has to be his own man at Arsenal and while he has some experience at the club he is also trying to bring through youngsters such as Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, and, having signed him on loan from Real Madrid last month, young Norwegian Martin Odegaard as well.

Arteta added: “We have Martin for a few months and first of all we have to maximise this time with him to try to bring to the team all the qualities he has.

“At the end of the season, we will sit together and decide where we can take that relationship forward.

“At the moment it doesn’t just depend on us.

“He is a young leader. On the pitch he is showing a lot of character and a lot of intelligence.

“They are characteristics that a leader should have.

“He has been here a very short time but he has adapted very quickly.

“He is getting more and more respect from the players and the staff and his weight on the team will increase with every week.”

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