National media verdict on Mikel Arteta after Arsenal’s loss to Man City

Telegraph

“Arsenal will feel encouraged that they stayed in the contest but they never really came close to claiming a point and remain in 10th place – almost as close to the relegation places as they are to the top four, in fact,” writes Jason Burt for the Telegraph.

“In truth it felt like an exercise in damage-limitation from their manager Mikel Arteta who certainly did not want to go toe-to-toe and picked a side to contain.

“The bedrock for City was their cast-iron belief that they would score and keep yet another clean sheet with Ruben Dias and John Stones – being watched by England assistant manager Steve Holland and a shoo-in for Gareth Southgate’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers – such determined and focussed presences in the heart of their defence.

“It has been said before but Stones is now the defender he promised to be: one of the world’s best.”

Independent

“Arteta powerless to resist former mentor,” writes Callum Rice-Coates for the Independent. “There was plenty of discussion before the game surrounding Mikel Arteta’s familiarity with Guardiola, how that might help him put together a plan to nullify the visitors.

“The Arsenal boss, of course, spent several years at City as the club’s assistant manager.

“But his side struggled to assert themselves tactically until the second half, and even then City’s imperious defence were relatively untroubled.

Mikel Arteta on the sidelines at Emirates Stadium

“There’s no doubt that Arteta is a coach with potential: he guided the Gunners to victory over Guardiola’s City in the FA Cup semi-final last year, a result based on solid defensive foundations. And his team grew into the game here, having looked like they might be on the wrong end of a heavy defeat early on.

“For now, though, it’s advantage Guardiola, the senior manager getting the better of his former student.”

Mirror

“Having been in Europa League action on Thursday night, Mikel Arteta made five changes to the Arsenal side that drew 1-1 with Benfica in Rome,” writes Alex Richards for the Mirror.

“They meet the Portuguese side in Athens this week in the second leg of their Last-32 tie, and while he won’t admit it, the changes here suggested that that much more winnable encounter played a reasoning in his changes.

“And, in truth, such is the quality and the form of this City side – who themselves rung the changes ahead of their return to European action this week – can you blame Arteta for taking the more pragmatic approach?

Odegaard is frustrated for Arsenal against Manchester City (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“Arsenal started the game 11 points off the top four.

“Yes they want to be back in the Champions League as soon as possible, but perhaps the Europa League is their best bet.”

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Guardian

“Losing by a single goal against Manchester City: this counts as progress right now, and Arsenal were impressive after a somnolent start,” writes Barney Ronay for the Guardian.

Mikel Arteta has worked hard to instil a greater solidity in this Arsenal team. It was apparent here, although they also struggled to create any clear openings. Martin Odegaard looked undercooked against opponents of this quality, a man struggling to find the right page in the manual.

“Pierre‑Emerick Aubameyang was a fretful figure, easily marshalled by John Stones.”