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Man City faces a special test from the Premier League in addition to the threat from Arsenal

Man City faces a special test from the Premier League in addition to the threat from Arsenal

After the departure of Jürgen Klopp, the team under Pep Guardiola’s former assistant has the best chance of challenging Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta has his own style and game, but both his tactics and leadership style are in line with what he saw first-hand from Guardiola at the Etihad. Whether it’s sacrificing individual players for the team’s style, putting the collective above any ego in the dressing room, innovative approaches to motivation before games and using first inverted full-backs and then centre-backs on the flanks, Arsenal have taken a page from City’s playbook to get closer to them.




Liverpool were a very different calibre under Klopp and Guardiola could never quite tame them in games, even if he almost always had the upper hand in a 38-game league season. Arne Slot will have his own ideas about the team at Anfield but has previously described watching City as the “ultimate joy of football” and Liverpool’s new elite development coach Aaron Briggs was courted by Arteta at Arsenal after impressing as a first-team analyst at City.

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United can also claim to have insider knowledge of how City works, having hired COO Omar Berrada and former academy director Jason Wilcox this year as the new investors at Old Trafford look to bridge the gap between the two neighbours. Wilcox reportedly had a say in United’s tactical approach to the FA Cup final, having worked on City’s system for years under Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain.

And then there’s Chelsea, copying the Arsenal model and hiring a former Guardiola assistant to get back into title contention. Enzo Maresca’s first interview with the club’s website remarkably made no mention of the City boss’s influence or Maresca’s contribution to City winning the treble. But now they have even more experience of the Blues, in addition to former head of academy recruitment Joe Shields and others who have made the journey.

Guardiola insists success cannot be copied and pasted, but by taking on key pieces of the City puzzle, Arsenal have become the second-best team in England. As the new Premier League season begins, City must understand that their rivals have never been better placed to neutralise and beat them, with the champions now appearing more strongly on the radar.