Mikel Arteta’s superb work at Arsenal has not gone down as a big surprise to one of his former teammates from his time at Everton.
The Spanish tactician played over 200 games for Everton before his move to Arsenal in the summer of 2011, and he continued to shine as a key player for the Gunners, eventually becoming club captain.
Arteta then retired in 2016 and immediately made the move to link up with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, becoming one of his coaches and quickly becoming very highly regarded for his work alongside Guardiola.
Eventually, Arteta became Arsenal manager in December 2019, and although he won the FA Cup in his first few months in charge, there were plenty of fans who weren’t entirely convinced by the project.
Now, however, Arsenal are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, and Arteta’s old Everton teammate Kevin Kilbane has praised the job he’s done with the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta has done a tremendous job at Arsenal
In particular, Kilbane singled out the big decision by Arteta to axe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he was club captain and one of the team’s star players, with few able to argue now that this wasn’t a good call.
Kilbane, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes: Fanzone, said: “You’ve got to say he’s done an incredible job; he really has. Don’t forget, he’s been under a lot of pressure in that role – there was a time not so long ago when people were calling for him to be sacked. That’s just a given as a Premier League manager nowadays, though; it’s something you’ve just got to take on the chin.
“The standard of football he’s got those lads playing, though, and the signings that he’s made, have been exceptional.”
He added: “If they were to win it, and continue what they’ve been doing up to this point, it would be one of the greatest achievements we’ve seen – certainly in my lifetime – given where Arsenal were two or three seasons ago. They weren’t qualifying for Champions League…