Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has gone from football manager to historian… after teaching his players all about the history of their FA Cup opponents Nottingham Forest, with the Championship side looking to pull off a third round shock on Monday night
- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been teaching his squad about Nottingham Forest
- The Gunners face the Championship side in the FA Cup third round on Monday
- Forest beat Arsenal 4-2 at the same stage in 2018, and will look to repeat history
Football historian Mikel Arteta has been teaching his Arsenal players about the legendary exploits of today’s FA Cup opponents Nottingham Forest and their mercurial former manager Brian Clough.
Arteta, 39, was not even born when Clough’s all conquering side succumbed to a Frank Stapleton goal as Arsenal won an epic clash at the City ground before going on to lift the trophy in 1979.
Forest were unbeaten at home all season, league champions and European Cup holder too as Clough worked miracles to make them the best against all the odds.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been teaching his squad about Nottingham Forest’s past glories
Nigel Clough helped Forest to get their hands on the European Cup, beating Malmo in 1979
And Arteta is aware the fallen Forest are finally back on the up as they nudge towards the Championship promotion zone.
He said: ‘I have made my players aware of the history and about the work that they have done. We know what to expect and we take this competition very seriously too.’
Arteta won the Cup in his first season in charge at Arsenal, having captained them to Wembley glory as a player too, but knows he has a long way to go to match Clough’s achievements.
He added: ‘I know everything about Forest because I love the history of the game and the history of this country. So I have read all about it, but obviously I didn’t live it.
‘It was a tremendous achievement and part of history. There is not enough time for me to give them the credit they deserve. You also had to live through that time to fully feel what they achieved.
‘I expect a great tie, with a great atmosphere and it’s going to be tough.’
Arteta returns to the dug-out after recovering from the Covid which kept him away from his side’s New Year’s Day defeat by Manchester City.
The Spaniard is expected to make several changes to his side ahead of the clash with Forest
Bernd Leno is likely to start between the sticks replacing regular goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale
And he admitted, apart from giving Bernd Leno a chance in goal, he does not know which players he will have available as he assesses AFCON absences, injuries and their daily return of Coronavirus test results.
He did assure Arsenal supporters. however, they will have a stronger squad by the end of the January transfer window.
Arsenal were big summer spenders too and Arteta explained: ‘We want to improve our squad in every transfer window and we want to have a better squad-balance in every window.
‘We have a leadership team that is in constant communication. Edu [Arsenal’s Technical Director] and I talk every single day and share all the ideas on the players we have, all the opportunities using full charts. We go through all the markets and the opportunities.
‘We are very aligned, not only with him but the directors and ownership. I am always optimistic [we will achieve our targets].’