Ahead of the return to Premier League action at the weekend, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta has been focusing on the opposition rather than his own players.
For a team that’s already lost half of their top-flight games this season, to be eulogising over Leeds United’s Marcelo Bielsa might strike the North London faithful as a little odd.
However, it’s not difficult to understand why the Spaniard has such admiration for the Argentinian.
Working alongside Pep Guardiola at Man City, Arteta would’ve heard first hand why Bielsa is so special for a lot of coaches.
“All positive and incredible things,” he said in an interview beIN Sports, cited by the Daily Mail, when asked what Guardiola had said about his mentor.
“First his work rate, the amount of hours that he puts in, the details, and the people around him to support, help and always evolve his ideas, and then who he is as a person. And that’s all really well respected by everybody that works alongside him.
“He has a unique way of training, of putting things together, and making a team play the way that every single player believes in what they have to do, and even if he’s difficult and challenging they still do it.
“I admire him he’s had a really challenging career, but what he’s managed to do – without winning many many trophies – but put a stamp on the football world is a big big merit to him.”
Clearly, there is a respect there, but for 90 minutes at the weekend, the Spaniard has to put that to one side and show that, tactically at least, he knows how to get one over his contemporary.
With the Gunners languishing down in 11th place at present, they clearly need every point that they can get to hang on to the coat tails of the top four at the very least.