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'Something comes in between' - Arsenal boss Arteta admits he would rather not be embroiled in title battle with 'friend' Guardiola

18:38 GMT 25/01/2023
Mikel Arteta Pep Guardiola Machester City FC Arsenal
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta would prefer not to rivalling Pep Guardiola's Manchester City for the league title due to the friendship between the two.
  • Arsenal face City in FA Cup this week
  • Arteta sees Guardiola as a friend
  • Would rather compete against another coach

WHAT HAPPENED? Arteta's Arsenal will face City in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday, pitting him against his friend and former coach. The pair are also fighting for the Premier League title, but Arteta says the high stakes in the competition will not affect their friendship.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's a strange feeling. I want the best for him, genuinely, and when you are challenging with someone like this, something comes in between that," he said at a press conference.

"I always hoped [Arsenal challenging City for trophies] was going to be the case one day and it's happening this season. That's not going to change any friendship, the moments that we have, how important he is in my life, how important he is in my profession. We're both willing to win and defend our clubs in any way and that's always been the case since day one. I would prefer to do it with someone else to be fair."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arteta spent three years as Guardiola's assistant before he left the Premier League champions to take over as Arsenal coach in 2019. His team are now five points clear of City at the top of the table and have lost just once in the competition this term.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? Arteta's team will attempt to progress to the next round of the FA Cup when they meet City this week. Afterwards, they will take on struggling Everton in the Premier League on February 4.