Arteta: “It is going to be very special for me and I am looking forward to it.”

Mikel Arteta will return to the Etihad Stadium for the first time as Arsenal head coach on June 17th. The former Arsenal captain spent four years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City. In his time there, City won two Premier Leagues, one FA Cup and three League Cups. 

Arteta spoke to Sky Sports on The Football Show and said his return to the Etihad will be strange but special:

“It is going to be strange, I can’t deny that. I know everybody there and spent four magnificent years with those players and staff. I am really excited as well, I can’t wait to start competing again and doing what we love most which is to play football. It is going to be very special for me and I am looking forward to it.” 

Arsenal’s first three games in the Premier League and their FA Cup Quarter Final will be played away from home. The Gunners have a poor away record and the fear is that they will struggle to pick up maximum points from these fixtures. Something to keep in mind, however, is that all remaining games will be played in empty stadiums and this is a completely different proposition. The assumption would be that the advantage to the home side would be minimised. 

The Bundesliga restarted on May 16th and five rounds of fixtures have been completed so far. Sky Sports took a look at how home advantage has changed since the restart in Germany. Interestingly, only 21.7 percent of matches have been won by home sides since May 16th. Prior to football being suspended in Germany due to the coronavirus, 43.3 percent of matches were won by home teams. This is a significant change in home advantage and should work in favour of teams like Arsenal who have struggled on the road. 

Mikel Arteta touched upon this and said he hoped it would help his Arsenal side:

“We have got a good measure with what is happening in the Bundesliga at the moment. I hope it is going to help. Football is about passion and energy and when you lose that, it is much more balanced. It better be right that playing away is an advantage because we are away four times in a row.”

He did however, make it clear that he is not counting too much on away advantage ahead of a trip to Manchester City: 

“I know how strong they are and what they are able to do if they are all switched on so we have to be well prepared to go there and win the game.”

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