Man City vs Arsenal: How do Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta compare ahead of FA Cup clash?

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta go head to head in the FA Cup on Friday (Reuters)
Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta go head to head in the FA Cup on Friday (Reuters)

Pep Guardiola comes up against his former assistant Mikel Arteta for the first time this season as Manchester City host Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday.

With the Gunners leading the champions in the title race, the eagerly-anticipated contest at the Etihad Stadium is sure to whet the appetite for their two Premier League encounters still to come this season.

Here is a closer look at the two managers:


Having managed three of Europe’s most powerful clubs in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City, and collected 32 trophies over the past 15 years, Guardiola’s experience obviously dwarfs that of relative novice Arteta.

Yet the former apprentice was a key part of City’s backroom staff for three years and appears to have learned the lessons well.

He is just over three years into his managerial career but, despite a rocky start and losing six of his seven games against Guardiola, has a strong record and an FA Cup triumph under his belt. This season’s title challenge has marked a further step up.

Big decisions

Guardiola has never shirked the big decisions, cutting loose players such as Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Toni Kroos in the past. This continued at City, when it became clear soon after his arrival that his vision did not include club stalwarts Joe Hart and Yaya Toure.

These were controversial calls but time has proved him right. Similarly, Arteta made the bold decision to offload club captain and key striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season.

It could be argued this cost the club a place in the Champions League but the Londoners now look a stronger and more united team without the divisive presence of the Gabon international.

Other similarities

  • Played: 7

  • Guardiola wins: 6

  • Arteta wins: 1

  • Draws: 0

Comparisons between Guardiola and Arteta are common and obvious. The two Spaniards were grounded at Barcelona and have clear ideas of how they want their teams to play, both based on possession, playing out from the back and pressing when not on the ball.

They are strong leaders, clear thinkers and highly energetic characters that get emotionally involved in games from the touchline. Both have proved effective communicators to their players.


Despite the common ground, they do have their differences. Having spent most of his playing career in the Premier League with Everton and then Arsenal, Arteta has a stronger belief in the need for defensive midfielders.

Whereas previously Fernandinho and now Rodri have been fine anchors for City, Guardiola’s emphasis remains on what these players can do in possession. With Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka in midfield, Arsenal are more physical.

This season

We are far away from the team we had in previous seasons.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola and Arteta are facing different challenges to motivate their players this season. After all their recent successes – most notably four Premier League titles in five years – City’s levels have dropped a little this term.

This prompted Guardiola to launch a remarkable broadside at his players last week, accusing them of lacking hunger and intensity.

This has not been the case at Arsenal. The arrivals of two former City players in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko injected energy into Arteta’s side in the summer and momentum has built ever since. Arteta’s job has been to ensure standards do not drop.