A viral video has backed up Pep Guardiola’s claim that Mikel Arteta never celebrated goals against Arsenal when he was Man City’s No.2.
The former Gunners skipper linked up with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium in 2016 to become his assistant after he hung up his boots as an Arsenal player.
Arteta worked under his Spanish compatriot for three years before returning to north London to succeed Unai Emery as manager at the Emirates Stadium.
Ahead of Friday’s FA Cup clash between the two teams – which ended in a 1-0 victory for City – Guardiola revealed Arteta’s love for Arsenal never wavered even when he was working for their Premier League rivals.
Guardiola said: “I know he went to his club, the team he dreams of. He’s a supporter, he was a captain there. He loves the club.
“I remember here when we scored goals he jumped a lot except against one team.
“He was sitting there – it was Arsenal. I said, ‘That guy likes Arsenal’. Like here, if I’m training as assistant and Barcelona call me, I go.”
And now a video has been doing the rounds on social media showing Arteta’s muted reaction when Raheem Sterling scored against Arsenal in December 2016.
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Theo Walcott had broken the deadlock in the Etihad encounter in the fifth minute, before Leroy Sane equalised for the hosts just after the break.
And Sterling then fired the Citizens into the lead in the 71st minute, which proved to be the winner.
The camera panned to Guardiola where he was seen reacted wildly, before gesturing towards his bench as City coaches rose to their feet to celebrate.
But Arteta remained sitting in his seat – unfazed and unmoved by the goal as he simply shook the hand of a fellow coach.
Despite the game ultimately ending in defeat, with Arsenal knocked out of the FA Cup at the fourth round, Arteta was relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against his former mentor ahead of the match, with both clubs also battling for the Premier League title.
Speaking in Thursday’s press conference, the Arsenal boss said: “It’s a big match, and a big test for us against in my opinion the best football team in the world.
“I’m looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are.
“I think there are going to be two very very different games [between the FA Cup and league matches], and to put similarities into them is very unreal.”
Arsenal may have lost the tie but the fact it was only a 1-0 defeat, coupled with knowing they kept Erling Haaland quiet, could be enough to give them confidence ahead of their first league clash of the season with City on February 15 at the Emirates.
But Arteta admitted after the cup exit that his side were left ruing their missed chances – something they can’t afford to repeat when they return to Premier League action as they look to maintain their seat at the summit.
“At the moment it’s disappointment because we are out and we could have taken much more from the game but we didn’t,” he said.
“I feel we really competed against them and made it difficult but we lacked something to win against a team like this…
“We have taken the chances in big matches this season and that’s why we have beaten all the big teams but unfortunately today we didn’t and we didn’t defend the action well enough in the box when Ake scored.
“We had three or four big openings but we have to be more ruthless and put the ball in the net.”
Tune into talkSPORT for live commentary of Man City vs Arsenal in the FA Cup, Friday January 27, kick-off: 8pm
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