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Arteta: Despite loss, Man City was “ready for the game”

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Mikel Arteta might have enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the hot seat for Manchester City when the Premier League champions opened their UEFA Champions League season at home to Lyon on Wednesday, but he sure didn’t like the result.

[ RECAP: Man City 1-2 Lyon ]

With suspended Pep Guardiola watching from the stands, Man City went behind 2-0 to the French visitors. The champs could muster one second half marker in a loss at the Etihad Stadium.

Arteta said he couldn’t say whether the game would be different with Guardiola on the touch line, but doesn’t think the loss comes down to his absence. From ManCity.com:

“We missed the right pass and didn’t find consistency,” he said. “We felt under threat every time we lost the ball, that can bring the confidence lower. We were ready for the game, keen to start to Champions League because the way we ended it last season really hurt.

“The players are not perfect, sometimes they have bad days, sometimes better. I can’t fault the effort. I won’t judge them because we lost.”

He’s finding more positives than his players when it comes to the day’s mettle.

“We started slowly, and we were inconsistent in the way we wanted to play,” Arteta said. “We lost too many duels. We gave the ball away in difficult circumstances and they scored twice, but after that, the reaction from the lads was superb. We tweaked a few things to control situations better and we created chances, but at this level, it wasn’t enough.”

John Stones was at the back for both of Lyon’s goals, and admitted that halftime hit the players hard.

“Really disappointing,” he said. “To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,. We came in at half-time a bit deflated. We picked ourselves up and played a better second half but it was frustrating.”

Wenger endorses Arteta as future Arsenal manager

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Mikel Arteta has rose to be the odds-on favorite to become Arsenal’s next manager, and the outgoing boss has given his backing to the Spaniard.

Arsene Wenger praised Arteta’s leadership ability, his passion, and of course knowledge of the club in an interview with BeIN Sports. Arteta of course played for Arsenal from 2011-2016 and was one of the Premier League’s best midfielders during his time in England, first with Everton and then with Arsenal.

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“He has all the qualities to do the job, yes and I think as well he is one of the favorites,” Wenger said. “He was a leader, and he has a good passion for the game and he knows the club well, he knows what is important at the club and he was captain of the club. Why Not?”

As was a sign of the fact that Wenger didn’t have enough different voices on his coaching staff, Arteta left Arsenal in 2016 for Manchester City, where he’s worked under Pep Guardiola for the last two seasons. Arteta is set to meet with Arsenal executives for talks today, and he could in theory be named manager by the end of the week.

Wenger has confirmed that he is not part of the hiring process to hire the next Arsenal manager.

Report: Arteta, Arsenal to meet on Thursday

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Arsenal could have its successor to Arsene Wenger by the end of the week.

That’s if talks with former Gunners midfielder and current Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta go well.

[ PL TOP 10: GKs and backs | Mids and forwards ]

Already reported as a clear favorite for the job, Arteta will speak with the Gunners brass on Thursday. Sky Sports also says he’d be allowed to bring his own backroom staff.

Pep Guardiola won’t stand in the way of his assistant moving up in the Premier League world, and it would certainly be interesting to see how Arteta would attack and defend his former side.

When Arteta retired from Arsenal in 2016, he was a teammate of several current Gunners’ stars including Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal.

Meanwhile, the Metro is reporting that Arsenal is ready to spend $102 million on Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu, Borussia Dortmund center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Arteta emerges as clear favorite for Arsenal job

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It’s becoming increasingly likely that Mikel Arteta is the favorite to take over from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Arteta, 36, has been working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City over the past two seasons but spent the final five years of his playing career at Arsenal and was club captain, winning the FA Cup once despite injuries mounting up at the end of his playing days.

And now the Spaniard, according to several reports, has emerged as the clear front runner to succeed Wenger who has stepped down after almost 22 years in charge. German coach Julian Nagelsmann, who led Hoffenheim to a club-best third place finish in the Bundesliga this season, was also favored but the 30-year-old coach isn’t available according to his club.

That leaves Arteta in the clear as it has seemed for some time that Arsenal wanted a younger coach with fresh ideas to reinvigorate their squad after a disappointing past two seasons under Wenger. Arteta would also align with the new structure of the club behind-the-scenes after several high level appointments in recruitment and director roles in recent months (head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat have both arrived) as they prepared for life after Wenger.

Is Arteta a good fit?

In many ways he ticks all of the right boxes. He will be hungry to impress in his first managerial job, he knows the club inside out after spending the latter stages of his playing days as club captain and his coaching philosophy aligns with that of his hero, Guardiola, who he’s helped to develop one of the greatest teams soccer has ever seen over the past 12 months.

Guardiola has lauded Arteta and hopes he stays, although Man City’s manager has admitted he will not stand in the way of his assistant if he wants to move on. Reports are also emerging that Arteta is hugely respected by City’s playing squad as he helps to get Guardiola’s message across on a daily basis. That’s no mean feat given the tactical nous needed to not only understand but help players understand what Pep wants.

Like Pep, Arteta was a cerebral player, a fluid central midfielder who made the best out of his career from his days in Barcelona’s academy to breaking through at Real Sociedad, then moving to PSG, Glasgow Rangers, Everton and Arsenal. He was a player who could see passes others couldn’t and was respected wherever he went as he played in a more advanced role at Everton but returned to a more defensive role in central midfield at Arsenal.

This message below when he left Arsenal in 2016 says a lot about not only Arteta’s character but also his love for the Gunners and coaching.

His class on and off the pitch slots in with Arsenal’s philosophy and the one which Wenger has created, plus, let’s be real, he would also represent a much cheaper option to the likes of Max Allegri or Luis Enrique who are being touted as potential successors to Wenger.

Arteta has come out of left-field a little, especially with no prior managerial experience, but in many regards he would be the perfect choice to not only replace Wenger but keep the playing style and culture he cultivated intact.

Report: Per Mertesacker set to be named new Arsenal captain

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It’s simply a formality, but following the retirement of former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, manager Arsene Wenger has promoted vice-captain Per Mertesacker to captain, according to Goal.com on Monday.

Arteta was out most of last season with various injuries, and the German defender captained the side in his stead for most of the campaign, and is therefore the obvious choice. Fellow center-back partner Laurent Koscielny took the armband for a few matches as well, and will be named vice-captain.

However, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion given the leadership experience of many in the squad. Koscielny himself had a shout. Goalkeeper Petr Cech will act as reserve captain, and Theo Walcott will line up as fourth in the pecking order.

It could be seen as a forerunner to a new deal, as the German is out of contract after next season, however at 31 years old, it’s also possible that this is his final season at the Emirates, with Wenger known for being incredibly selective about handing out contracts to those over 30.

Mertesacker has been at Arsenal since moving from Werder Bremen on deadline day in 2011, making 207 appearances for the Gunners, including 149 in the Premier League and another 33 in the Champions League. He has been a fixture in the German national team as well, making his debut in 2004 under Jurgen Klinsmann and holding 104 caps for his country.