Pep and Arteta: Master v Apprentice?

There is little doubt that Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is the best in the whole world and has held that position, largely unrivalled for around 12 years.

In that time there have been other good football coaches, some have pursued different approaches but no one else has the legacy that Pep has left.

It is inevitable during this time that the approaches beloved by Pep will be exploited by others and refined. Systems will be designed to create divisions in the Pep method and accordingly other coaches will flourish in their approach, gaining popularity and kudos along the way.

The real mark of the leader of coaches though is in maintaining their position as the best. And that is achieved through constant revision.

Guardiola faces a real dilemma though as the so called Project Restart enters it’s final phase with the next round of televised Premier League matches being played out behind closed doors. This introduces a new set of problems for Guardiola.

For a coach forever in the solid pursuit of excellence there will be many things he will be unhappy about in the preparation to take on Arsenal.

The fitness and especially the match fitness of the players after such a random prolonged break will be a cause for concern. The tactical and positional drilling about which so much Guardiola play is based, may not be fresh.

The styles of play of the opposition and tactical layout may not be set and watching performances from last season will be of little value.

The question arises then as to whether these will become a great leveller between Pep and Arteta who will both line up in their socially distant dug outs tonight, to face off for the first time in their new roles.

This is Master versus Apprentice for the print media already and will afford both sides a stern test for the resumption of action.

Quite who will come out on top will be anyone’s guess but the duelling will be of interest for all of us Manchester City fans who still hold Arteta in high regard for his contribution towards our recent successes.

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