Pep Guardiola backs Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to come good

Arsenal are off to their worst start to a season in 67 years.

Mikel Arteta (left) and Pep Guardiola (Michael Regan/PA)

By Andy Hampson, PA

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola backed Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta to come bouncing back after piling on the misery for his former assistant on Saturday.

Arteta endured one of his most chastening days since quitting City to take charge of the Gunners in December 2019 as they were thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium with a man sent off.

The result condemned Arsenal to their worst start to a season in 67 years and left them without a point – or even a goal – after their first three Premier League games.

Guardiola (left) and Arteta (right) enjoyed considerable success together at City (Martin Rickett/PA)

The pressure is building on Arteta but, despite completely overpowering his old colleague’s side, Guardiola remains a staunch ally.

Arteta was a key member of Guardiola’s backroom staff as City won the Premier Leageue with a record 100 points in 2018 and followed up by claiming an unprecedented domestic treble the following year.

“We know our jobs, especially in the big clubs like Arsenal and Manchester City,” said Guardiola. “If you don’t win, always there are rumours.

“I’m not talking as a friend – which I am – but as a professional, and when I was working alongside him he helped me a lot to achieve what we achieved together.

“I learned a lot from him and he taught me many things that we are using right now. What we are now, Man City as a team, is thanks to him for what he has done.

“I don’t have any doubts. He is so strong, he will recover and I am sure he will be back on track.”

We are a team. We have to stick together in this moment.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

With Arsenal now not in action again until September 11, there is likely to be a lot of soul-searching at the Emirates Stadium over the international break.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang indicated some home truths are likely to be delivered in the coming days.

“I think we need to talk between us players,” the striker said in his post-match interviews.

“I think this is now important because we are Arsenal and we need pride. We have to talk and say the truth between each other, be honest and raise the level.

“For sure (it) is going to be difficult, but we are a team. We have to stick together in this moment.”

City completely overwhelmed the Gunners (Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal failed to muster a single shot on target in a shambolic performance. City raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 12 minutes with goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres before Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Joao Cancelo.

Gabriel Jesus, Rodri and Torres completed the rout – a second successive 5-0 for the champions at the end of a week in which they failed to sign either Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gundogan said: “It’s a privilege to be a part of this team, of this group of players and, obviously, when you’re able to put performances like that on the pitch, then even more.”

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