Arsenal legend says Arteta should not ‘overthink’ against Guardiola

Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon believes Mikel Arteta needs to ‘not overthink what Pep Guardiola is doing’ ahead of their clash against title rivals Manchester City this weekend.

Speaking to Bet Victor, Dixon – who won eight major trophies during his time with the north London club, has urged Arteta not to overcomplicate his tactics as Arsenal look to secure three points at the Etihad for the first time since 2015.  

Victory would stretch the Gunners’ lead over City to four points, but Arteta’s side must perform better than they did in this fixture last year, where City took initiative in the title race and comfortably beat them 4-1.  

Pep knows how big this game is…

Dixon clarified that his former side have improved since then and are better equipped to play on the front foot on Sunday, but has urged Arteta to not get involved with Guardiola’s “mind games.” 

He said: “It is a possibility that Arsenal will go to the Etihad and look to play on the break. Mikel Arteta will be scrutinising last year’s performance when they got beaten 4-1 and he’ll be rethinking his game plan. 

“He may look at his team and think they’ve developed and are better than they were last year so they can afford to play on the front foot.  

“There will be mind games going on between Arteta and Pep Guardiola. Sometimes Pep makes a change, and everyone says that he’s overthinking and sometimes that is true.

“But the majority of the time he is so clever when it comes to just tweaking something that doesn’t seem that different and you can’t work it out.  

Arsenal already beat City this season

“Arteta’s biggest headache will be just trying to stay in the moment with his team, rather than trying to overthink what Pep is doing.  

“If you do that you’ll end up in trouble – he’ll see what is happening once the game starts. City will set up as if they’re just going to play their normal game and Arsenal have developed enough to adapt to any changes throughout the 90 minutes.” 

At this stage last year, Arsenal were eight points clear of City in the Premier League but a drastic dip in form in the month of April put Guardiola’s side back in control at the start of May- eventually going on to win the title by five points.

Embed from Getty Images

Dixon said Arsenal’s league position is irrelevant heading into the weekend and their confidence will stem from how they perform in arguably the biggest game since Arteta became manager in 2019. 

“I think the title race is different this year when it comes to Arsenal and Manchester City,” Dixon said.  

“For Arsenal, being top now is fine but it is only really great to be top after 38 games. There is a bit of pressure that comes with it, but I don’t think it really means anything. You only get the confidence from being top if you win your next game and stay there.  

“If you don’t win and you lose top spot, that is when everyone else piles on and writes you off. The players won’t be focusing on the league table, they might glance at it, but it won’t mean anything to them. The real confidence comes from their performances.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Latest

To Top