How Mikel Arteta outsmarted Arsene Wenger when Manchester City played Arsenal
Arteta is the leading candidate to replace Wenger as Arsenal boss and has already held positive talks with the Gunners hierarchy, as well as City manager Pep Guardiola who has given his blessing for the Spaniard to return to his former club.
The 36-year-olds potential arrival has sparked a mixed response from Arsenal supporters, with some embracing a change in direction from the club who stuck by the same manager for 22 years, while others are unhappy that a candidate with no managerial experience is even being considered.
But according to Goal, Artetas role behind the scenes at Manchester City should not be underestimated and the significance of his contribution can be summed up by a decision Guardiola made when his side faced Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium last season.
Citys title challenge had been weakened following defeats to Chelsea and Leicester City, but ahead of the crucial fixture against Arsenal, Guardiola privately told Arteta that he would be in charge for the game against his former club.
WHAT WENGER HAS SAID ABOUT ARTETA
Overall he has the qualities but I dont want to influence that publicly.
I believe it is important they make their choice in an objective way and after made that decision I will support him.
City were behind at half-time following Theo Walcotts early opener, but Arteta took the decision to switch his attack so that Kevin De Bruyne operated through the middle, with Raheem Sterling on the right and Leroy Sane on the opposite flank.
And the tactical switch made a swift impact as City were level through Sane two minutes after the break before Sterling netted the winner in the 71st minute.
According to Goal, Artetas in-depth knowledge of Citys opponents and his ability to adopt a strategy to defeat Wenger, his former manager, was a key reason why Guardiola decided to place the Spaniard in charge for that game in December 2016.
Goal also report that Arteta has played a major part in working with several City players, notably helping Fabian Delph with his temporary position change to left-back and working with Sterling to improve his finishing in front of goal.
Its claimed that Guardiola is impressed with the way Arteta puts across his message to the players and their is a strong belief among Citys backroom team that the 36-year-old is ready to take the job at Arsenal.
More: Arsenal FC