Former Barcelona star Yaya Toure gives Mikel Arteta verdict and compares Arsenal to Man City

Former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure has praised Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, drawing comparisons between the Gunners and Manchester City.

The praise comes as the Spaniard has guided his side to fourth in the Premier League table, with games in hand over those below them in a pursuit of a top four finish.

Should the team finish the season strongly, they could see a return to European, and more importantly Champions League, football after missing out entirely last season.

To get the team competing again, the squad had to be restructured, though it was at the cost of over £150m.

Experienced players were replaced with youth that could grow into potential superstars at the club for years to come.

Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga all joined the club and have played a part in getting the side where they are now.

The highlights of their squad overhaul has been seen in recent weeks, with the devastating frontline wreaking havoc away at Watford last weekend while against Wolves there was a defensive solidity about the side that was lacking before.

Despite the performances, Arteta refused to be drawn too much into a conversation about finishing in the top four.

After victory over Watford, he said: “I don’t like to look at the table a lot because we have games in hand, we’re going to play different fixtures and I know the objective and it’s only one, to try and improve tomorrow on what we’ve done today and go into the next match and that’s it.

“I cannot control results and I cannot predict which matches we are going to win, draw or lose, it’s impossible. If I start to do that I think we’re going to lose focus in what we want to do.”

While the manager doesn’t wish to discuss the side’s progress to finish in the top four too heavily, former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure was happy to indulge in praising the Spaniard.

Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola on the touchline
Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola on the touchline

The 38-year-old drew comparisons to Pep Guardiola, discussing Arteta on Premier League Productions.

He said: “If you see the action before the goals, that’s why you have to give credit to Arteta since he has arrived at Arsenal.

“He has improved this team when they lose the ball. Five seconds and they get the ball back. That’s typical from Pep [Guardiola].

“When I was at Barcelona, they were doing similar. When they lost the ball, the guys who are in front, they stay. The guys who are behind, they run behind you. Man City do that a lot. They are great at that.

“Then, when they get the ball back, they change their pace to finish as soon as possible. It looks simple, but it’s very hard.”

Arteta was, of course, an assistant to Guardiola in his time at the Etihad before he made the switch to the Emirates.

It is likely that in his time as a coach, he took some of what he learned under someone regarded as one of the best in the world at his trade.

For Arsenal, the praise will be nice, but it is just the beginning of what is a big project planned for the club.

Up first though, is securing a space in the top four by May.

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