Jose Mourinho admits he loves what Mikel Arteta is doing at Arsenal, praises his use of Jakub Kiwior as a left-back

Jose Mourinho has admitted he loves what manager Mikel Arteta is doing at Arsenal and has also praised him for using Jakub Kiwior as a left-back.

The Gunners are top of the Premier League table having played one more game than Manchester City, and leaving Etihad Stadium with a point last month following a goalless draw appealed to the former Manchester United manager.

A loss against the reigning champions would have been damaging, and Mourinho was impressed with the defensive display he saw from the Gunners.

“I am happy because I like the kid,” Mourinho told the Daily Telegraph.

“And I am happy everything goes for him. But the way they [Arsenal] played to get that point – and the way the media spoke about a magic strategy.

“In my time, it was not a magic strategy, and I won at Manchester City a few times. But it was not an amazing strategy. It was a defensive game. Park the bus. Park the double bus. It was a different perspective.

Mourinho also pointed out how Arsenal have been playing plenty of natural centre-backs across other positions just to have much-needed defensive compactness.

“Look to Manchester City, look to Arsenal – just to give two examples. How many central defenders do they have in the team?” he continued.

“Sometimes they have six. As a matter of principle. Then they play in other positions. They play right-back, left-back, they play midfield. But they play with five or six central defenders on the pitch. Why? If I am a journalist I would ask the manager.”

“They feel the need for defensive stability and a defensive compactness.”

Mourinho claims the reason Arteta uses Kiwior as a left-back is because his physicality is useful in winning duels and defending set-pieces, and the 24-year-old has played more in the position than centre-back.

The 6ft 2in defender has been preferred to the 5ft 9in Oleksandr Zinchenko in certain games, and he has impressed, weighing in with a goal and three assists in 18 Premier League appearances this term.

Arsenal have shipped the least goals (26) in the league this term, and while the defensive record is still not as impressive as Mourinho’s first season in the Premier League in 2004-05 when Chelsea leaked just 15 goals in 38 games, it is something the Portuguese would be proud of given his love for brilliant defences.

The Gunners have not won the title since he first arrived in England and they will be desperate to finally do so this term.

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