Barcelona manager Xavi has attributed Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s previous work with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as a reason behind his success. The Spanish coach is overseeing an incredible season at the Emirates.

The Gunners are top of the Premier League table, holding a two-point lead over second-placed City with a game in hand. They are also in the last 16 of the Europa League and have won 17 of 23 league games this season.

Xavi has praised Arteta, claiming that working as Guardiola’s assistant coach at Manchester City played its part in his success. He told reporters (via the Times):

“He is doing very well and taking a chance on the young players, which has even more merit. No, he’s not surprised me because he had the best references [having worked alongside Guardiola at City].”

The Barcelona manager also suggested that Arteta’s experience of playing as a midfielder in the past has been key:

“And because if you have played as a central midfielder at Barça you already have a headstart — you have the map of your pitch in your head. And because Pepe Reina [the former Spain goalkeeper] is a close friend of his and has always spoken very well of him. I had a feeling that Arteta would do very well, but it was just a feeling.”

Arteta was part of Guardiola’s backroom staff at Manchester City for three seasons. In that time, the Cityzens lifted the league title twice. He left the Etihad in 2019 to take up the role as Arsenal manager.

The Spaniard also enjoyed an impressive playing career in the English top flight. He played under Gunners’ legendary manager Arsene Wenger, making 150 appearances, scoring 16 goals and contributing 11 assists.

Arsenal boss Arteta played down reports linking him with the Barcelona job

Arteta found himself linked with the Barcelona managerial role amid Arsenal’s stellar season at the Emirates. According to SPORT, the Blaugrana have earmarked him as a potential candidate to take over at the Nou Camp in the future. His resume of working with their former coach Guardiola is enticing.

However, Arteta shot down rumors in November last year, claiming he was happy in north London. He said (via the Mirror):

“I am extremely proud and happy to be where I am now.”

The Spanish coach also claimed that Xavi was overseeing a great project with the Catalan giants:

“I think, Barcelona now, they are in a really good path. I think they have a phenomenal coach – a coach who has been an absolute legend in that club and has lifted the whole place. You have to be very respectful of that.”

Arteta has two years remaining on his contract. He signed a new deal with Arsenal in April last year.