Jose Mourinho's not-so-subtle Mikel Arteta swipe leaves him looking very foolish

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Mikel Arteta has guided Arsenal to the top of the Premier League (Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/REX/Shutterstock)
Mikel Arteta has guided Arsenal to the top of the Premier League (Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Jose Mourinho took a not-so-subtle swipe at Mikel Arteta back in 2019 after the novice was handed the reins at Arsenal.

Mourinho was the Tottenham boss at the time and couldn't understand how Arteta - who had never managed before and had only worked as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City - had landed the coveted job.

Carlo Ancelotti was in the running for the Gunners job shortly after Unai Emery was sacked and many expected the now Real Madrid manager to be named the Emirates boss. But Arsenal overlooked the experience Italian and instead gave their former captain a chance - a decision that is now starting to pay dividends.

Mourinho said of the situation in 2019, taking a swipe at Arteta in the process: "The only point I can find – and it is for us to laugh a little bit – is that years ago the best managers were the guys with more victories. Now the best is the guy with the fewest defeats.

"So Ancelotti has three Champions Leagues, won the league in Italy, France and England and won cups here and there – but Ancelotti has lost, I don't know, 200 matches? I have lost 150-180 – Carlo is a little bit older than me.

Mikel Arteta's dream Arsenal line up as last-gasp January transfers are secured eridzriquhikeinvMikel Arteta's dream Arsenal line up as last-gasp January transfers are secured

"I think now it is not about how much you won, it is about the matches we didn't lose. So probably the best managers now are the managers with zero defeats.

"The only reason I can understand is that they look through the CVs and see guys with more defeats and guys with fewer defeats, so guys with fewer defeats are given the job. I cannot find another reason."

Jose Mourinho's not-so-subtle Mikel Arteta swipe leaves him looking very foolishJose Mourinho was wrong about Mikel Arteta (Getty Images)

Arteta needed a short while to get the ball rolling at Arsenal but quickly put his stamp on the team, ousting the likes of Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and later Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

He now has a young and hungry group at his disposal and has guided them to the top of the Premier League after 17 games played this season - they sit eight points above champions Manchester City.

Arsenal's turnaround under Arteta has already gone some way to making Mourinho's 2019 comments sound foolish, and if he can go one better and win the title then he will have silenced all of his doubters.

Jake Polden

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