Mikel Arteta ‘managed’ Man City for just one game and set unwanted record which has stood ever since

Mikel Arteta had to ‘manage’ Manchester City for one game – he managed to set an unwanted record which still stands.

It’s strange to think about, given his success as Arsenal manager at such a young age, but Arteta started his coaching career at City.

He worked under City boss Pep Guardiola after retiring as a player between 2016 and 2019 before returning to the Emirates Stadium.

Arteta’s role was assistant coach, although he appeared to be much closer to Guardiola than Brian Kidd and Domenec Torrent in the same role.

The two Spaniards regularly chatted on the touchline and Guardiola respected Arteta’s tactical mind. Guardiola used to ask Arteta for tactical advice even when he was an Arsenal player.

An extract from ‘Pep’s City: The Making of a Superteam’ highlights the working relationship between Guardiola and Arteta.

It reads: “Arteta and Guardiola always kept in touch, and Arteta lived in the same neighbourhood as Pep’s brother, Pere when he was based in London.

When Barca drew Chelsea in the Champions League (in 2012), Pep picked up the phone to pick his old friend’s brain about their upcoming opponent.
Impressed by Arteta’s critical analysis, Pep made a mental note to seek his advice more often.”

Guardiola believed in Arteta so much he allowed him to take charge of City while he served a touchline ban in September 2018.


Arteta was in control for City’s Champions League Group F opener against Lyon, taking the pre and post-match press conferences.

While there’s no doubt Guardiola had his influence pre-match, it was very much Arteta in the Etihad Stadium dugout calling all the shots.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, City lost the game 2-1 thanks to goals in the first half from Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir.

Bernardo Silva’s effort past the hour mark wasn’t enough to stop the reigning champions from slipping to a shock defeat

City haven’t been beaten at home in the Champions League since that evening over five years ago, an unwanted record on Arteta’s CV.

When asked if Guardiola’s absence had anything to do with the result, Arteta replied: “You can’t say what would have happened had Pep been around, it’s completely hypothetical.

“The only reality is that we lost the game. We started quite slowly, we lost too many duels and twice in the first half we gave away the ball in dangerous areas and allowed Lyon to score both times.”

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