The two colleagues, Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta meet again on Saturday when Arsenal visits Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in the Premier League match.
It has been a distinctly ordinary start of the campaign by Manchester City who goes into the weekend game with five points and 10th place behind Arsenal.
From the moment it appears as though Arteta would come out from his mentor’s wings and fly the nest, there was excitement amongst Arsenal fans. And certainly, Arteta appears to have brought much of his compatriot’s success and mindset with him from the Etihad to the Emirates.
Indeed, Arsenal has gained the Manchester City look so far this season. Most certainly, the Gunners know that Saturday’s victory will them leave eight points clear of the former champions.
On Guardiola’s side, the club has seen their air of invincibility slip and their record of one win, one draw and one defeat from three games marks their worst start to a campaign since 2010/11. City is in the 14th place in the table and a defeat this weekend would drill another early nail in their title hopes.
Man City will go into the match with their star man Kevin de Bruyne who trudged off during Belgium’s defeat to England. Losing a player of such quality will be a blow to City. But particularly given his record against Arsenal, the playmaker has been involved in seven goals in his last eight league starts against the Gunners and has scored more Premier League goals against them than he has versus any other side, three of his five coming last season.
There may be better news on the injury front when it comes to Raheem Sterling who withdrew from the England squad with a hamstring injury.
His withdrawal was understood to be precautionary though there is a likely hood he could be in contention this weekend.
With Sterling an option to lead the line in the Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero continued absence, the latter may be included in the squad though he is unlikely to be ready to start a game.
Ilkay Gundogan is available whole Oleksandr Zinchenko is nearing complete recovery. Barring any further setbacks, Guardiola could be back up to full strength in the near future.
The Gunners have questions marks hanging over their star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who withdrew from the Gabon squad with a sprained ankle. Although, it is said he is expected to be fit.
Arteta is also hopeful that Kieran Tierney will be available despite being ordered to self-isolate for 14 days after close contact with Stuart Armstrong.
Arsenal is in talks with the authorities over a special dispensation to allow him to play. Meanwhile, the new arrival Thomas is also in contention for his debut having joined up with his teammates earlier in the week.
Emile Smith Rowe, Pablo Maris, and Shkodran Mustafi are all eying returns this month. On the other hand, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers are longer-term absentees.