• Arteta worked as Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City before taking his first managerial job at Arsenal.
• The Frenchman left the club in May 2018 and was replaced by Unai Emery, who lasted 18 months before he was sacked and replaced by Arteta.
Pep Guardiola says Mikel Arteta is ‘creating something unique’ at Arsenal and feels the Gunners will challenge for trophies under the Spaniard.
Arteta worked as Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City before taking his first managerial job at Arsenal.
The compatriots come up against each other in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday at Wembley.
“There is no better person to do the job than Mikel,” said Guardiola. “They have team spirit. Mikel has created.”
City lost their Premier League crown to Liverpool but have won the EFL Cup this season and are looking to retain the FA Cup.
Although Arsenal have claimed the FA Cup a record 13 times, most recently in 2017, they have not won the league since 2003-04 under Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman left the club in May 2018 and was replaced by Unai Emery, who lasted 18 months before he was sacked and replaced by Arteta.
“It’s one of the elite clubs in English football of the last 20 or 30 years,” said Guardiola. “I’m pretty sure [Arteta is] the right person to bring them back to the position of before.
“From the outside — maybe I am wrong — but what I see in their games, how they celebrate, how they fight for every single ball, they are creating something special for this club. Everybody fights for each other.
“I have a feeling he is creating something unique and if he can be supported by the club in terms of investment, and get the players that they need, they’ll be a contender for the next years.”
Arsenal go into the game with confidence having beaten new champions Liverpool 2-1 in the league on Wednesday, but have a wretched recent record against City. The Gunners have lost their past seven games to Guardiola’s men, conceding 20 goals and scoring just twice.
Asked whether he was worried about the record, Arteta replied: “Yes, but if I look at the trends as well before we played Liverpool, with the calendar year or the last two calendar years that they’ve had, you get depressed.
“What I need now is energy to transmit to my players, belief and it’s the FA Cup — we have a lot of experience here and we have a history related to that. Let’s go for it. I want to focus on what we want to do. If I worry too much about them, it’s not the message that I want to send to the players.”